12/21/14

The Men Who Sought Out Goats: The Abjuration Oath of 1685

The introduction of the Abjuration Oath at the start of 1685 was an attempt to look inside the minds of Charles II’s Scottish subjects to discover “fanatics” who rejected the King’s authority and posed a danger to the state. Its aim was to sort the moderate-presbyterian “sheep” from the militant “goats” of the Society people…

Image from A Hind Let Loose (1687)

Some of those who later refused the oath were summarily executed.

The oath was pressed on everyone aged fourteen and over at courts held in public in every parish of the Southwest. The text of the oath left no room to doubt what it was about. It was expressly targeted against the Society people’s Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, which was posted on church doors on Saturday 8 November, 1684.

The oath taken at the parish courts held in January or February, 1685, was as follows:

‘I, A. B. do hereby abhor, renounce, and disown, in presence of the almighty God, the pretended declaration of war, lately affixed at several parish-churches, in so far as it declares a war against his sacred majesty, and asserts, that it is lawful to kill such as serve his majesty, in church, state, army, or country.’

The proclamation of the oath specified that those who subscribed it were to receive a testificate, i.e., a certificate. That testificate was issued by the commissioners in each shire, called ‘A. B. &c’ in the text, to the individual swearer, called ‘C’ in the text, in the specified parish, called ‘D’ in the text. The testificate was as follows:

‘We, A. B. &c. do, by these, testify and declare, that C. in the parish of D. did compear before us, and on his, or her solemn oath, before almighty God, did abjure and renounce the late traitorous Apologetical Declaration, insofarasit declares war against his majesty, and asserts, that it is lawful to kill such as serve his majesty in church, state, army, or country.’

That ‘testificate’ was to be retained by the swearer to ‘serve for a free pass to all who have the same for all time thereafter, and shall preserve them from all molestation and trouble in going about their affairs’

That meant that every household in the shires where people had sworn had a copy of the oath. Knowledge of the oath and its meaning, whether obtained at the public swearing, or through conversation, or by reading the oath – the ability to read was widespread in Lowland Scotland – was deeply embedded in the communities of the Southwest.

It is in that context that those who evaded or refused to take, or scrupled over taking, the oath should be read. Many may have been ignorant of the contents of the Society people’s Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, but it was public knowledge what the authorities had said that it had meant.

Who were the Commissioners who pressed the Abjuration Oath?
The Commission for the Abjuration Oath empowered the following individuals to press the oath from the beginning of 1685 to to 1 March:

Lanarkshire (5 Commissioners)
‘John [Dalzell] earl of Carnwath,
William Hamilton of Orbiston,
Cromwell Lockhart of Lee,
John Johnston provost of Glasgow,
and James Lundy of Strathardly [i.e., Strathairly, Fife], for the shire of Clydesdale, the said earl [of Carnwath] being convener.’

Renfrewshire (6 Commissioners)
‘To [John Cunningham] the earl of Glencairn,
[John Cochrane] lord Cochran,
[William] lord Ross,
the said William Hamilton of Orbiston,
[John] Houston younger of that ilk,
and John Shaw younger of Greenock,
for the shire of Renfrew, the said lord Ross convener.’

Ayrshire (6 Commissioners)
‘To [John] lord Bargeny,
[Sir William] Blair of that ilk,
Sir Archibald Kennedy of Colzean,
Sir William Wallace of Craigie,
Hugh Cathcart of Carl[e]ton,
and Robert Hunter provost of Ayr,
for the shire of Ayr, the lord Bargeny convener.’

Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire (5 Commissioners)
‘To the said William Hamilton of Orbiston,
[Humphrey Colquhoun] the laird of Luss,
Major [George] Arnot, lieutenant-governor of the castle of Dumbarton,
[Archibald MacAulay] the laird of Ardincaple,
and John Graham of Dougalston,
for the shires of Dumbarton and Stirling, the said laird of Orbiston being convener.’

Dumfriesshire (6 Commissioners)
‘To the earl of Aunandale,
Sir Robert Dalziel of Glenae,
Sir Robert Grierson of Lagg,
Sir James Johnston of Wester-raw,
Thomas Kilpatrick of Closeburn,
and Robert Lawrie of Maxwelton,
for the shire of Nithsdale and stewartry of Annandale, earl of Annandale convener.’

Galloway (5 Commissioners)
‘To John [an error for Alexander Gordon] viscount of Kenmuir,
[Robert Grierson ] the said laird of Lagg,
David Dunbar of Baldune, [i.e., Baldoon]
Sir Godfrey M’Culloch of Mireton,
and Mr David Graham sheriff-depute of Galloway,
for the shire of Wigton and stewartry of Kirkcudbright, Kenmuirconvener.’

Teviotdale/Roxburgh (7 Commissioners)
‘To [Robert Kerr] the lord Jedburgh,
[James Cranston] lord Cranston,
[Henry] M’Dou[g]al of Mackerston,
Sir William Douglas of Cavers,
Sir William Ker of Greenhead,
Sir William Elliot of Stobs,
and William Ker of Chatto,
for the shire of Teviotdale, lord Jedburgh convener.’

Selkirkshire (5 Commissioners)
‘To John Riddel of Hayning,
Sir Francis Scot of Thirlstone,
Thomas Scot of Whiteslaid,
Sir Robert Pringle of Stitchel,
James Murray of Dewchar younger, for the shire of Selkirk, the said laird of Hayning convener.’

The commission also empowered, but did not identify, commanders of garrisons to press the oath: ‘As also to the commanding officer of our garrisons, in the respective bounds and shires’. That phrasing is precise, but it is not absolutely clear which officers were specifically commissioned, as who commanded each local garrison cannot be identified in every case. What that phrasing possibly meant in the months that followed was that superior officers in the field who did not hold a judicial commission where not empowered to press the oath, while junior officers, i.e., lieutenants, cornets etc, or local officials who held one, were empowered to press the oath in the field.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post on Facebook or retweet it, but do not reblog in FULL without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine


Filed under: 1685, Abjuration oath, Alexander Gordon Viscount of Kenmure, Annandale, Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, Archibald MacAulay of Ardincaple, Ayrshire, Borders, Carrick, Covenanters, Cromwell Lockhart of Lee, David Dunbar of Baldoon, David Graham, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, earl of Annandale, earl of Carnwath, earl of Glencairn, Eskdale, Francis Scott of Thirlstane, Galloway, Glenkens, Godfrey McCulloch of Mireton, Henry McDougal of Mackerston, Hugh Cathcart of Carleton, Humphrey Colquhoun of Luss, James Cranston Lord Cranston, James Johnstone of Westerhall, James Lundy of Strathairly, James Murray younger of Deuchar, John Graham of Dougalston, John Houston younger of that ilk, John Johnston (Glasgow), John Riddell of Haining, John Schaw younger of Greenock, Kirkcudbrightshire, Lanarkshire, Lord Bargany, Lord Cochrane, Lord Ross, Major George Arnot, Nithsdale, Renfrewshire, Robert Dalyell of Glenae, Robert Grierson of Lag, Robert Hunter (Ayr), Robert Kerr Lord Jedburgh, Robert Laurie of Maxwelton, Robert Pringle of Stitchel, Roxburgh, Selkirkshire, Sir Archibald Kennedy of Culzean, Teviotdale, Thomas Kilpatrick of Closeburn, Thomas Scott of Whiteslaid, Wigtownshire, William Blair of that ilk, William Douglas of Cavers, William Elliot of Stobs, William Hamilton of Orbiston, William Ker of Chatto, William Ker of Greenhead, William Wallace of Craigie Tagged: Abjuration oath, Ayrshire, Charles II, Covenanters, Galloway, History, Lanarkshire, Scotland, Scottish History
10/31/13

Devils, True Banditti and Catching Wild Cats: The Covenanters, The Killing Times and the Convention at Wanlockhead of 1684

On 15 October, 1684, the Society people gathered in a convention near the Glengaber Burn and decided to publish their Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, a document which would lead to assassinations, the Abjuration Oath and the Killing Times…

Glengaber BurnThe site of the Glengaber Convention © Iain Thompson and licensed for reuse.

The decision of the Societies’ sixteenth convention was not known to the authorities. At the same time, John Drummond of Lundin, the Secretary of State for Scotland, was busy conducting a court to try, banish and hang militant dissenters in Glasgow when word of the seditious convention reached him. The correspondence of Drummond and others with the High Treasurer, William Douglas, duke of Queensberry, reveals how the government learned that the United Societies had declared war on them and threatened them with assassination, how they responded to it and what their attitude towards the Society people were.

Drummond Earl of MelfortJohn Drummond of Lundin, later earl of Melfort

Letter from John Drummond of Lundin to William Douglas, Duke of Queensberry, 20 October, 1684.
These extracts from Drummond’s correspondence with Queensberry begins with a discussion of the problems Drummond faced in dealing with Presbyterian dissent at the court in Glasgow. Drummond squarely put the blame for the resistance he encountered in Lanarkshire on the shoulders of the Duke of Hamilton, who held judicial power of a sheriff in his own estates in there. The first line is priceless.

‘Glasgou, 20 Octr: [16] 84.’
Ten at night.
[...] It’s impossible to secure this country without many people be transported, especially the smal heritors, who acknouledg no superior on earth, and it’s a question if they doe in heaven; but I am of opinione, if we had our 300 out of them, this mater wold be brought some lenith hear [in the shires around Glasgow]. I am sure, it’s most evident that the persons of quality hav bein to blame for this mater; for now when Duke Hamilton appears to joyne with us, we meit not with the least resistance from the commons, except in places uher the jest has bein caried on too farr, and that is mainely in his Grace’s oun lands [especially in Evandale and Lesmahagow parish?] or amongst his nearest neighbours. I most tell your lordship, that at the begining I uas forced to carie very even with him; for I found all the heritors run to him for councell,’

However, Drummond then mentions news of a field preaching by James Renwick to four hundred on the borders of Crawford parish in Lanarkshire and the Societies’ sixteenth convention:

[...] But to leav this: yesternight [i.e., Sunday 19 October] I had informatione of a Conventicle upon the borders of Crauford [parish]. I sent to the Duke, to my Lord Duke Hamilton, to tell him that I heard, and sent him the double of thie informatione from your lordship’s servant, and with all something by way of admonitione, as that this being upon his land, said to be 400 armed men, it was a scandall to him, and a reproach to all the neighbouring heritors, and told him that as Sheriff he ought to eas the country, and to follow after them; and with all, that so soon as I got certaine informatione, I was resolved to go myself in to se that country used as it became the King’s authority; that in the mean time, we had dispatched a party of 24 hors[e] and 30 Dragoons, to bring in all the bordering heritors and suspect persons, and to disarme the adjacent paroashes. His Grace’s ansuer I hav sent inclosed. I am hopefull we shal get some accompt if any such thing has bein.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 190-1.)

William Douglas Duke of HamiltonWilliam Douglas, duke of Hamilton

Two days later, Drummond continued his attacks on the Duke of Hamilton, on whose land Renwick’s preaching had allegedly taken place, in another letter to Queensberry:

Glasgow, [Wednesday] 22 Octr: [16]84.
‘This day [Wednesday 22 October] tuo rogues wer condemned to be hanged upon Fryday [24 October, i.e., James Lawson and Alexander Wood, at Glasgow]; and Duke Hamilton sate [in the court], notwithstanding of his first resolutions, for he is resolved in evry thing to sitt still, and that maks me judge he has better advice then ordinar; for I am sure he was neuer so hemmed in, and yet he is quiet.’

As a postscript, Drummond added:’The whole disorders hear are in Duke Hamilton’s lands, and it will be found ther has bein no diligence in his regality till now.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 195.)

In fact, the Societies’ sixteenth convention had taken place across the shire march from Hamilton’s lands in Crawford parish.

It is possible that Renwick preached on the Lanarkshire side of the boundary before the convention, which was held in the glen of the Glengaber Burn in Sanquhar parish, Dumfriesshire.

Map of Glengaber

According to one witnesses, many of those who had come to the convention had attended in large parties of twenty or thirty that came over the hills from Crawford Muir in Crawfordjohn parish.

However, there is no doubt that Hamilton’s Lanarkshire lands were heartlands of the Society people.

William Douglas Duke of QueensberryWilliam Douglas, duke of Queensberry

Further information about the Societies’ sixteenth convention reached Drummond on about the same day as Lawson and Wood were executed in Glasgow. He wrote to Queensberry:

[>24 October: 1684.]
The bearer [William Wilson in Wanlockhead] has bein examined in this place, being apprehended by one of our partys, so it’s not his fault that he was not with your lordship before now. I hav sent your lordship the copie of his depositione [about the Societies’ sixteenth convention at Glengaber], and doe assure your lordship ther’s no fault in this occatione in us, for we can doe no mor, they being so intirely dissipate that ther’s no vestige of them, and all thes who saw them are in fear of ther lives. Thes men are true Bandittys, and if ther be not some universall course, they will not be found. All that can be done by us wil be ended this night, but to doe this affair thoroughly requires mor time then is alloued to us, but I hope all is better then it was [...]

Postscript —The bearer wil tell you the kindness the Whighs has for your lordship [i.e., Queensberry], which is no ill argument of your lordship’s zeal in the King’s service.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 196.)

WanlockheadWanlockhead

With Drummond’s letter to Queensberry came a copy of the deposition William Wilson of 24 October. Wilson lived in the newly formed lead-mining settlement of Wanlockhead and was taken at the house at Glengaber beside the convention. According to Wilson, about 200 Society people were at the convention. Like the other depositions about the sixteenth convention, it offers a rare glimpse into how it took place:

‘Wm. Wilsone in Wanlockhead, in the paroch of Sancquer, being solemlie sworne and interrogat, depons that upon Wedinsday the [15 October] instant, the deponent went earlie in the morning from his oun house to Glengaiber, wher instantlie came out of the house six men in armes, and presented guns to him, and took him prisoner, and carryed him in to the house; and ther come in some women to them, and after they had comoned with him a long tyme, they releived ther guard, and sent as many new ones to guard him, which they did seven times by turnes, being always seven or eight in number, and keept him their prisoner all the day over: depons he heard psalms singing and he lookt out of the house, and he saw on the craigs at htle off, to the number of 200 people, or therby, as he thinks; and they having keept him prisoner till dark night, and then suffered him to goe home to his oun house [in Wanlockhead], and stayed sometyme.

There came twelve men in armes in to his house [in Wanlockhead on the evening of Wednesday 15 October], did take meat and drink, and stayed all night, and keept ane centinal at the door; and befor day light in the morning [of 16 October] they went away, and that the deponent thought by their discoursing, they looked rather like gentlemen than countriemen, and that they wer well armed, everie one a carabin, two pistols and a sword.’

The well-armed group of twelve were probably core members of the United Societies’ leadership and their guard. The diners at Wilson’s house in Wanlockhead may have included James Renwick.

‘They threatned the deponent that, if he divulged them, they wold berrive him of his life; and the deponent having the nixt day [Thursday, 16 October] gone abroad to gett intelligence what had come of them, he could gett no notice, and upon the friday [17 October] he went to Sanquhar and acquainted my Lord Threasurer’s Chambe[r]lan [i.e., John Alison,  Queensberry’s chamberlain] with the haill storie.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 196-7.)

The Glengaber meeting was the first convention held by the Societies near Wanlockhead. Their choice of location may have been symbolic, as Wanlockhead lay at the top of the Enterkin Pass, a place where the Society people had attacked government forces and rescued prisoners two months earlier. At least of the Enterkin attackers, Ninian Steel, attended the convention. He was involved in taking Wilson prisoner at Glengaber.

The Societies would return to the area again. On 22 December, 1686, they held their thirty-second convention at Wanlockhead. In 1688, they would hold two more, their thirty-ninth convention at Lowthers and Cogshead, and the forty-first at Wanlockhead.

Linlithgow TolboothLinlithgow Tolbooth

On 10 November, Drummond briefly mentioned to Queensberry the posting of  the Apologetical Declaration on the mercat cross in front of Linlithgow’s imposing tolbooth:

‘On Saturday night [8 November] ther was a declaratione of war batted upon the Cross of Linlithgow. The copie of it is sent to your lordship, by which your lordship sees they are angry, and therfor ________; so your lordship’s presence is most needfull for the setling such measures as may secure the Government for the future—a thing, I think, will be easy, of the propositions now made be folloued out’. (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 198.)

Drummond was confident their severe measures would succeed in suppressing the Society people. Others were not so sure.

Viscount TarbetGeorge Mackenzie of Tarbet, Lord Clerk Register

Letter of George Mackenzie of Tarbet, Lord Clerk Register, to Queensberry, 10 November, 1684.

‘Right honourable:—This day the Secret Committee have met, on occasion of a paper affixt on the cross of Linlithgow, declaring war with the Government, and promising to kill us all. [...] Since we find that there is a party declaring a war, who lurk within us, we think on a strict enquiry, for all in the nation, who will not forswear these opinions; and especially in Edinburgh; and at any rate to free the kingdom. For [_____?] or halking are judged absolutely insecure. [...] we are ordering an enquiry, on oath, in Linlithgow and Borrowstownness concerning this paper.’ (Napier, Memorialls of Viscount Dundee, II, 423-4.)

The Society people’s assassination of two of the King’s Lifeguards at Swine Abbey confirmed Lord Register’s fears. On 20 November, he wrote again to Queensberry:

‘Edinburgh, 20th November, be 10 forenoon.
Right Honourable:—For God’s sake take care of yourself; for now that those villains are at the utmost despair, they will act as devils, to whom they belong. I shall lease to write a long letter, which I intended, for now, I think all other matters are to be left till those wild cats be catched.’ (Napier, Memorialls of Viscount Dundee, II, 424.)

Two months later, a group of Society people would have killed Queensberry’s brother if a blunderbuss had not failed.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to this post, but do not reblog without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine


Filed under: 16 convention, 1684, 32 convention, 39 convention, 41 convention, Abjuration oath, Alexander Wood, Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, Bo'ness, Crawford parish, Crawfordjohn parish, duke of Hamilton, Dumfriesshire, earl of Melfort, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glengaber, His Majesty's Regiment of Dragoons, His Majesty's Troop of Life Guards, James Lawson, James Renwick, John Alison, King's Regiment of Horse, Lanarkshire, Linlithgow, Linlithgow parish, Ninian Steel (Glengar), Nithsdale, Sanquhar parish, Swine Abbey, Viscount Tarbet, Wanlockhead, William Douglas duke of Queensberry Tagged: Covenanters, Drumlanrig Castle, Early modern history, Glasgow, History, Scotland, Scottish History, Wanlockhead
10/31/13

Devils, True Banditti and Catching Wild Cats: The Covenanters, The Killing Times and the Convention at Wanlockhead of 1684

On 15 October, 1684, the Society people gathered in a convention near the Glengaber Burn and decided to publish their Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, a document which would lead to assassinations, the Abjuration Oath and the Killing Times…

Glengaber BurnThe site of the Glengaber Convention © Iain Thompson and licensed for reuse.

The decision of the Societies’ sixteenth convention was not known to the authorities. At the same time, John Drummond of Lundin, the Secretary of State for Scotland, was busy conducting a court to try, banish and hang militant dissenters in Glasgow when word of the seditious convention reached him. The correspondence of Drummond and others with the High Treasurer, William Douglas, duke of Queensberry, reveals how the government learned that the United Societies had declared war on them and threatened them with assassination, how they responded to it and what their attitude towards the Society people were.

Drummond Earl of MelfortJohn Drummond of Lundin, later earl of Melfort

Letter from John Drummond of Lundin to William Douglas, Duke of Queensberry, 20 October, 1684.
These extracts from Drummond’s correspondence with Queensberry begins with a discussion of the problems Drummond faced in dealing with Presbyterian dissent at the court in Glasgow. Drummond squarely put the blame for the resistance he encountered in Lanarkshire on the shoulders of the Duke of Hamilton, who held judicial power of a sheriff in his own estates in there. The first line is priceless.

‘Glasgou, 20 Octr: [16] 84.’
Ten at night.
[...] It’s impossible to secure this country without many people be transported, especially the smal heritors, who acknouledg no superior on earth, and it’s a question if they doe in heaven; but I am of opinione, if we had our 300 out of them, this mater wold be brought some lenith hear [in the shires around Glasgow]. I am sure, it’s most evident that the persons of quality hav bein to blame for this mater; for now when Duke Hamilton appears to joyne with us, we meit not with the least resistance from the commons, except in places uher the jest has bein caried on too farr, and that is mainely in his Grace’s oun lands [especially in Evandale and Lesmahagow parish?] or amongst his nearest neighbours. I most tell your lordship, that at the begining I uas forced to carie very even with him; for I found all the heritors run to him for councell,’

However, Drummond then mentions news of a field preaching by James Renwick to four hundred on the borders of Crawford parish in Lanarkshire and the Societies’ sixteenth convention:

[...] But to leav this: yesternight [i.e., Sunday 19 October] I had informatione of a Conventicle upon the borders of Crauford [parish]. I sent to the Duke, to my Lord Duke Hamilton, to tell him that I heard, and sent him the double of thie informatione from your lordship’s servant, and with all something by way of admonitione, as that this being upon his land, said to be 400 armed men, it was a scandall to him, and a reproach to all the neighbouring heritors, and told him that as Sheriff he ought to eas the country, and to follow after them; and with all, that so soon as I got certaine informatione, I was resolved to go myself in to se that country used as it became the King’s authority; that in the mean time, we had dispatched a party of 24 hors[e] and 30 Dragoons, to bring in all the bordering heritors and suspect persons, and to disarme the adjacent paroashes. His Grace’s ansuer I hav sent inclosed. I am hopefull we shal get some accompt if any such thing has bein.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 190-1.)

William Douglas Duke of HamiltonWilliam Douglas, duke of Hamilton

Two days later, Drummond continued his attacks on the Duke of Hamilton, on whose land Renwick’s preaching had allegedly taken place, in another letter to Queensberry:

Glasgow, [Wednesday] 22 Octr: [16]84.
‘This day [Wednesday 22 October] tuo rogues wer condemned to be hanged upon Fryday [24 October, i.e., James Lawson and Alexander Wood, at Glasgow]; and Duke Hamilton sate [in the court], notwithstanding of his first resolutions, for he is resolved in evry thing to sitt still, and that maks me judge he has better advice then ordinar; for I am sure he was neuer so hemmed in, and yet he is quiet.’

As a postscript, Drummond added:’The whole disorders hear are in Duke Hamilton’s lands, and it will be found ther has bein no diligence in his regality till now.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 195.)

In fact, the Societies’ sixteenth convention had taken place across the shire march from Hamilton’s lands in Crawford parish.

It is possible that Renwick preached on the Lanarkshire side of the boundary before the convention, which was held in the glen of the Glengaber Burn in Sanquhar parish, Dumfriesshire.

Map of Glengaber

According to one witnesses, many of those who had come to the convention had attended in large parties of twenty or thirty that came over the hills from Crawford Muir in Crawfordjohn parish.

However, there is no doubt that Hamilton’s Lanarkshire lands were heartlands of the Society people.

William Douglas Duke of QueensberryWilliam Douglas, duke of Queensberry

Further information about the Societies’ sixteenth convention reached Drummond on about the same day as Lawson and Wood were executed in Glasgow. He wrote to Queensberry:

[>24 October: 1684.]
The bearer [William Wilson in Wanlockhead] has bein examined in this place, being apprehended by one of our partys, so it’s not his fault that he was not with your lordship before now. I hav sent your lordship the copie of his depositione [about the Societies’ sixteenth convention at Glengaber], and doe assure your lordship ther’s no fault in this occatione in us, for we can doe no mor, they being so intirely dissipate that ther’s no vestige of them, and all thes who saw them are in fear of ther lives. Thes men are true Bandittys, and if ther be not some universall course, they will not be found. All that can be done by us wil be ended this night, but to doe this affair thoroughly requires mor time then is alloued to us, but I hope all is better then it was [...]

Postscript —The bearer wil tell you the kindness the Whighs has for your lordship [i.e., Queensberry], which is no ill argument of your lordship’s zeal in the King’s service.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 196.)

WanlockheadWanlockhead

With Drummond’s letter to Queensberry came a copy of the deposition William Wilson of 24 October. Wilson lived in the newly formed lead-mining settlement of Wanlockhead and was taken at the house at Glengaber beside the convention. According to Wilson, about 200 Society people were at the convention. Like the other depositions about the sixteenth convention, it offers a rare glimpse into how it took place:

‘Wm. Wilsone in Wanlockhead, in the paroch of Sancquer, being solemlie sworne and interrogat, depons that upon Wedinsday the [15 October] instant, the deponent went earlie in the morning from his oun house to Glengaiber, wher instantlie came out of the house six men in armes, and presented guns to him, and took him prisoner, and carryed him in to the house; and ther come in some women to them, and after they had comoned with him a long tyme, they releived ther guard, and sent as many new ones to guard him, which they did seven times by turnes, being always seven or eight in number, and keept him their prisoner all the day over: depons he heard psalms singing and he lookt out of the house, and he saw on the craigs at htle off, to the number of 200 people, or therby, as he thinks; and they having keept him prisoner till dark night, and then suffered him to goe home to his oun house [in Wanlockhead], and stayed sometyme.

There came twelve men in armes in to his house [in Wanlockhead on the evening of Wednesday 15 October], did take meat and drink, and stayed all night, and keept ane centinal at the door; and befor day light in the morning [of 16 October] they went away, and that the deponent thought by their discoursing, they looked rather like gentlemen than countriemen, and that they wer well armed, everie one a carabin, two pistols and a sword.’

The well-armed group of twelve were probably core members of the United Societies’ leadership and their guard. The diners at Wilson’s house in Wanlockhead may have included James Renwick.

‘They threatned the deponent that, if he divulged them, they wold berrive him of his life; and the deponent having the nixt day [Thursday, 16 October] gone abroad to gett intelligence what had come of them, he could gett no notice, and upon the friday [17 October] he went to Sanquhar and acquainted my Lord Threasurer’s Chambe[r]lan [i.e., John Alison,  Queensberry’s chamberlain] with the haill storie.’ (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 196-7.)

The Glengaber meeting was the first convention held by the Societies near Wanlockhead. Their choice of location may have been symbolic, as Wanlockhead lay at the top of the Enterkin Pass, a place where the Society people had attacked government forces and rescued prisoners two months earlier. At least of the Enterkin attackers, Ninian Steel, attended the convention. He was involved in taking Wilson prisoner at Glengaber.

The Societies would return to the area again. On 22 December, 1686, they held their thirty-second convention at Wanlockhead. In 1688, they would hold two more, their thirty-ninth convention at Lowthers and Cogshead, and the forty-first at Wanlockhead.

Linlithgow TolboothLinlithgow Tolbooth

On 10 November, Drummond briefly mentioned to Queensberry the posting of  the Apologetical Declaration on the mercat cross in front of Linlithgow’s imposing tolbooth:

‘On Saturday night [8 November] ther was a declaratione of war batted upon the Cross of Linlithgow. The copie of it is sent to your lordship, by which your lordship sees they are angry, and therfor ________; so your lordship’s presence is most needfull for the setling such measures as may secure the Government for the future—a thing, I think, will be easy, of the propositions now made be folloued out’. (Manuscripts of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, II, 198.)

Drummond was confident their severe measures would succeed in suppressing the Society people. Others were not so sure.

Viscount TarbetGeorge Mackenzie of Tarbet, Lord Clerk Register

Letter of George Mackenzie of Tarbet, Lord Clerk Register, to Queensberry, 10 November, 1684.

‘Right honourable:—This day the Secret Committee have met, on occasion of a paper affixt on the cross of Linlithgow, declaring war with the Government, and promising to kill us all. [...] Since we find that there is a party declaring a war, who lurk within us, we think on a strict enquiry, for all in the nation, who will not forswear these opinions; and especially in Edinburgh; and at any rate to free the kingdom. For [_____?] or halking are judged absolutely insecure. [...] we are ordering an enquiry, on oath, in Linlithgow and Borrowstownness concerning this paper.’ (Napier, Memorialls of Viscount Dundee, II, 423-4.)

The Society people’s assassination of two of the King’s Lifeguards at Swine Abbey confirmed Lord Register’s fears. On 20 November, he wrote again to Queensberry:

‘Edinburgh, 20th November, be 10 forenoon.
Right Honourable:—For God’s sake take care of yourself; for now that those villains are at the utmost despair, they will act as devils, to whom they belong. I shall lease to write a long letter, which I intended, for now, I think all other matters are to be left till those wild cats be catched.’ (Napier, Memorialls of Viscount Dundee, II, 424.)

Two months later, a group of Society people would have killed Queensberry’s brother if a blunderbuss had not failed.

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Filed under: 16 convention, 1684, 32 convention, 39 convention, 41 convention, Abjuration oath, Alexander Wood, Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, Bo'ness, Crawford parish, Crawfordjohn parish, duke of Hamilton, Dumfriesshire, earl of Melfort, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glengaber, His Majesty's Regiment of Dragoons, His Majesty's Troop of Life Guards, James Lawson, James Renwick, John Alison, King's Regiment of Horse, Lanarkshire, Linlithgow, Linlithgow parish, Ninian Steel (Glengar), Nithsdale, Sanquhar parish, Swine Abbey, Viscount Tarbet, Wanlockhead, William Douglas duke of Queensberry Tagged: Covenanters, Drumlanrig Castle, Early modern history, Glasgow, History, Scotland, Scottish History, Wanlockhead
12/13/12

The Execution of Algie and Park at Paisley in 1685: Wodrow’s Version

Algie and Park Monument 1835Algie and Park Monument of 1835 © Lairich Rig and licensed for reuse.

Wodrow’s Version of the Trial and Execution of Algie and Park
‘Upon the 3d of February, I find John Park and James Algie executed at the cross of Paisley, by sentence of the commissioners for this shire.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Wodrow confirms that the judges of Algie and Park were the shire commissioners. Like the inscription on the gravestone, he did not identify who most of the commissioners were, but he did mention Ormiston’s prominent roll in the trial.

The president of the court was Lord Ross. The other commissioners present were William Hamilton of Ormiston and either some of, or all of, their fellow commissioners, i.e., the earl of Glencairn, Lord Cochrane, John Houston, younger of the ilk, and John Schaw, younger of Greenock.

Wodrow’s Sources
Wodrow claimed that he was able to give ‘particular detail’ of the trial as ‘my accounts are from persons of the best credit, who had occasion to know it exactly’. (Wodrow, History, IV, 190.)

One source that Wodrow used to obtain his information about the trial was the previous incumbent of his parish, Matthew Crawford (d. December, 1700). Wodrow knew Crawford well, as he had lived in Eastwood parish from c.1697 and he succeeded to Crawford’s charge in 1703. (Fasti, III, 135.)

‘I have a distinct account of them [i.e., Algie and Park] from the late reverend Mr Matthew Crawford minister at Eastwood, where they lived, whose piety and learning make his memory savoury to all who knew him.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Matthew Crawford was a moderate-presbyterian minister in Eastwood parish at the time of the executions. He had been declared a fugitive in 1676 and was privately ordained at the behest of one of the leading moderate presbyterians, John Maxwell of Nether Pollock, whose estate lay in Eastwood parish. Private ordination meant that Crawford did not play any public role in Eastwood parish, but under the protection of Maxwell’s household he was probably the focus for moderate-presbyterian dissent in that parish. In 1687, Crawford accepted James VII’s edicts of toleration and established a meeting house in the parish. He became the parish minister at the Revolution. Wodrow, too, was a chaplain in Maxwell’s household in the late 1690s before he became the parish minister.

As a fugitive, Crawford did not attend the trial in person, however, he did play a role in sending a moderate presbyterian preacher to Algie and Park when they were briefly imprisoned awaiting trial.

John Maxwell of PollockSir John Maxwell of Nether Pollock

Wodrow neglected to mention that Crawford was almost certainly opposed to the Society people in principle, as he was a moderate presbyterian minister. However, Crawford may not have taken a hostile attitude towards local Society people. His patron, Maxwell of Pollock, was later involved in a secret negotiation with James Renwick in October, 1685. Renwick’s willingness to visit Maxwell of Pollock’s home at that time is a sign that he trusted Maxwell and his household not to turn him over to the authorities. As Maxwell’s chaplain, it is likely that Crawford was in some way involved in those negotiations.

At the time of Algie and Park’s brief imprisonment, Maxwell of Pollock was absent from the parish as he had been imprisoned on 2 December, 1684, and accused of high treason. In that context, Crawford may well have had good reasons to ensure that his patron’s name was in not associated with any intervention to save two Society people.

It would appear that Crawford was well placed to know about Algie and Park’s case. However, he was not necessarily an unbiased source, as Wodrow also failed to mention was that Crawford had married Margaret Houston, a daughter of John Houston of that ilk, one of the judges who condemned Algie and Park. (Fasti, III, 134-5.)

A Useful Chronology for the execution of Algie and Park
Taken together, the events surrounding local Society people and the details of the Paisley court and the pressing of the Abjuration oath in Eastwood reveal both a sequence of events in Eastwood parish in the run up to the trial of Algie and Park, and information about the Paisley court which tried them.

October, 1683.
Thomas Jackson from Eastwood parish is captured near Hamilton. George Jackson of Eastwood parish is also captured in Glasgow.

4 March, 1684.
Thomas Jackson is banished to Flanders. He subscribes a testimony on his banishment.

c. 1684.
Robert King, the local miller, is an acquaintance of Algie and Park. King and his wife were dissenters like Park.

5 May, 1684.
The published Fugitive Roll names several of Algie and Park’s neighbours and John Stuart at Kennishead.

May–June, 1684.
Searches are conducted in Eastwood parish and other nearby parishes for fugitives. Arthur Cunningham, who was from a farm close to Algie and Park’s home, is captured in a search.

20 July, 1684.
Arthur Cunningham is banished to Carolina and subscribes a testimony on favour of the Society people.

Before 29 July, 1684.
James Renwick preaches near Paisley, possibly in Eastwood parish. Some local Society people probably attend the meeting.

29 July, 1684.
William Niven, a suspected attender of Renwick’s preaching, is captured in Pollockshaws

9 October, 1684.
William Niven is sentenced to banishment.

Late 1684.
Thomas Jackson secretly returns from banishment and goes into hiding.

October–November, 1684.
The parish ministers in Renfrewshire probably submit lists of nonconformists to the authorities in line with the practice in other shires in either October or November, 1684. Park may have appeared on that list.

8 November, 1684.
The Society people post the Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers on kirk doors.

13 November, 1684.
William Niven and George Jackson, both of Eastwood parish, are interrogated over the Apologetical Declaration and refuse to disown it. Niven remains under the threat of execution.

2 December, 1684
Sir John Maxwell of Nether Pollock, a moderate presbyterian whose estate dominated Eastwood parish, is imprisoned for High Treason.

8–9 December, 1684.
George Jackson of Eastwood parish is tried and executed in Edinburgh. His martyrs’ testimony begins to circulate.

30 December, 1684.
The list of shire commissioners to press the Abjuration and deal with dissent is proclaimed. William Hamilton of Ormiston, the earl of Glencairn, Lord Cochrane, Lord Ross, John Houston, younger of the ilk, and John Shaw, younger of Greenock, are appointed commissioners.

4 or 11 January, 1685.
The instructions for pressing the oath are probably announced in Eastwood parish church.

Beginning of January, 1685.
Thomas Jackson is seized for the second time in a search of Glasgow and threatened with summary execution at Glasgow Green.

18 or 25 January, 1685.
The deadline for the heritors, factors etc. of Eastwood parish to submit an exact list of all the inhabitants of their estates to the parish minister, William Fisher.

Late January, 1685.
The commissioners almost certainly press the Abjuration oath in Eastwood parish. Algie and Park evade taking the oath.

1 February, 1685.
Algie and Park are captured at Kennishead in Eastwood parish.

Morning of 3 February, 1685.
The commissioners send soldiers to Eastwood parish to seize Robert King, a nonconformist and had not taken oaths.

3 February, 1685.
The commissioners hold their court at Paisley Tolbooth to handle cases arising from the pressing of the Abjuration in Renfrewshire.

With the above chronology in mind, it is now time to return to Wodrow’s narrative of the case of Algie and Park.

kennishead

Kennishead
According to Wodrow: ‘Those two men lived in Kennishead in the foresaid parish, and were joint tenants in a bit of land there.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Algie and Park held the tack, or lease, to some land either at, or near, Kennishead. Today, the ruins of the later farm at Kennishead lie by Cowglen golf course in the south side of Glasgow.

Map of Kennishead         Aerial View of Kennishead

Kennishead lay in the barony and regality of Darnley, The barony was scattered across several neighbouring parishes and part of the Lennox estate. It is possible that Algie and Park took over the tack of Kennishead after John Stuart was declared a fugitive in mid 1683 if Stuart held the tack to the same land.

Wodrow continues:

‘I am informed that James Algie was an ordinary conformist, and heard the episcopal minister till within a few weeks before this, when through the influence of the other[, i.e., Park,] he gave it over.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Wodrow claims that ‘a few weeks before’ their execution, Park had persuaded Algie to abandon his attendance of episcopal worship and join him in supporting the Society people. Algie had made a sudden ideological volte-face, turning from episcopal conformity to the militant-presbyterian extreme.

Before he joined the Society people, Algie would have worshiped under William Fisher, the ‘curate’ of Eastwood, at the parish church. That church was demolished in 1781.

Wodrow’s account implies that Park was one of the Society people, as he persuaded Algie to adhere to their testimony. When Park joined the Societies is not known. It is possible that he may have moved in local Presbyterian circles before he adhered to the Societies, as unlike Algie, he was not described as a conformist. Park may have been known to Matthew Crawford. As discussed above, Crawford may have felt that he had a duty towards all the Presbyterians of Eastwood due to the influence of his patron, Maxwell of Pollock, in the parish.

Wodrow’s time frame for Algie’s volte-face suggests that he made it at around the same time that the process of pressing the Abjuration oath in Eastwood parish had begun, i.e., in early January.

The initiation of that process was probably not the cause of Algie’s volte-face. What crisis or events could have caused such a dramatic psychological and ideological realignment in Algie, and propelled Park’s hardline views? Wodrow does not say, but the dramatic events involving Society people in Eastwood parish who were Algie and Park’s neighbours in the months before their execution may have influenced their views and led Algie to join Park in adhering to the Societies’ testimony.

What is clear is that Algie and Park both adhered to the Societies’ Apologetical Declaration before the Abjuration oath was pressed towards the end of January.

Wodrow, however, concentrated on their giving up of the tack as the reason for why they were informed against, rather than their adherence to the testimony of the Society people. Abandoning the tack or lease would have had financial consequences for either the owner of the land or the individual who awarded the tack. According to Wodrow, their actions were taken as a slight by the unnamed tacksman or factor who awarded the ‘bit of land’ to Algie and Park.

That may be a spin on events by Wodrow. He had little time for the Society people in his history, as their extremity ran counter to the moderate image he wanted to depict of Presbyterian dissent. He was, perhaps, deliberately, vague about the reasons for Algie and Park’s abandonment of the tack.

‘It is certain that both of them gave over that land they had jointly a tack of, upon some reason or other, which one who had been instrumental in bringing them thither took very ill, and drove his resentments so far as to inform against them, and sent a nephew of his upon the Lord’s day, February 1st, with a letter to Mr John Cochran[e] of Ferguslie at Paisley, bailie of the regality of Darnley, under which they lived’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Were Algie and Park’s adoption of the Society people’s platform and their abandonment of the tack connected? A good case can be made that they were.

The Duke of Richmond in c1685The Duke of Richmond in c.1685.

Kennishead lay in the barony and regality of Darnley which belonged to Charles Stewart, duke of Lennox (d.1723). Stewart was the illegitimate son of Charles II and his long-term French mistress, Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth.

The regality was part of the Lennox estates and titles which Charles II had granted to his infant illegitimate son in 1673. The estate later passed through the hands of the Duke of Montrose to the Maxwells of Pollock.

In 1685, Portsmouth’s son was only twelve years old. It is almost certain that the Duchess, who was absent at court in London, ran the regality of Darnley through factors on behalf of her son. Whoever held the post of factor or chamberlain of the regality would have had considerable social standing within that area of Renfrewshire, as the regality of Darnley was spread across several parishes.

KéroualleLouise de Kérouaille

At the time of Algie and Park’s ordeal, the Duchess was endeavouring to ensure that the terminally-ill Charles II did not die estranged from the Catholic church. Charles died three days after Algie and Park were executed.

The connection between the regality and the King and his French Catholic mistress may have made it very difficult for Society people like the newly-converted Algie to continue to hold the tack, as payments on the tack or any other burdens may have been viewed as either directly, or indirectly, aiding the repression of God’s people.

The Informer
The unnamed individual who informed on Algie and Park was probably responsible for awarding more than just Algie and Park’s tack within the Darnley estate. They were almost certainly part of the local hierarchy responsible for administering the estate in the name of the young duke. Precisely where the informer fitted into that hierarchy is not known.

It is possible that the informer was the factor or chamberlain of the regality. A chamberlain handled the finances of an estate. In 1685, the “nerve centre” of the Darnley estates was probably Crookston Castle, which lies in Paisley parish close to the boundary with Eastwood parish.

The possibility that the factor or chamberlain may have been the informer is of particular interest when the instructions of the privy council regarding the Abjuration oath are taken into account. In the absence of the heritor, i.e., the twelve-year-old duke of Lennox, ‘factors or chamberlains’ were responsible for drawing up the exact list of the inhabitants of their lands. The factor or chamberlain was also responsible for presenting that list to the local minister, William Fisher, for the use of the shire commissioners within fifteen days of the public announcement of the Abjuration oath in Eastwood parish.

That list should have included Algie and Park and would have been submitted in mid January, 1685. That may explain why Algie and Park suddenly chose to abandon their joint tack at around the same time. We do not know why they did that, but faced with appearing on the list to take the Abjuration oath, it is possible that Algie and Park decided to abandon their tack in an attempt to evade taking the oath. Their decision appears to have been sudden, may have been suspicious and was perhaps taken without them offering a plausible explanation for it to the factor. It would also have failed to evade the oath, as all inhabitants of the estate were supposed to be listed, rather than just those who headed households.

However, it is not clear if Algie and Park appeared on the list of inhabitants submitted by the factor.

If they were recorded on the list, then they would have been legally required to appear before the commissioners on the day that the Abjuration was sworn in Eastwood parish. If they evaded that duty, then they would have immediately become fugitives if the factor refused to agree to produce them within a reasonable time frame. It is possible that having failed to appear to take the oath, that the factor, then in the position of having to vouch for them until he produced them, felt compelled to inform against them.

If their names did not appear on the list, then they may have been successful in evading the oath when it was publicly taken in Eastwood parish. That possibility could only have come about if the factor or chamberlain colluded in the suppression of their names, as the instructions for the oath required all inhabitants of the estate to be listed whether they held land or not. William Fisher, the local minister, might have spotted that his parishioner, James Algie, was not on the list.

It is not clear whether the shire commissioners knew that Algie and Park had evaded the oath before they received information about them.

However, of the two options given above, the former has the benefit of being a simple explanation for their being informed against.

The latter option is convoluted and very unlikely, as it creates unnecessary complications when the logic of that scenario is drawn out. For example, either the informer informed on Algie and Park to escape the legal consequences of his own failure to list them, or his informing on Algie and Park would have led to treason charges, for which there is no evidence, being levelled against the factor or chamberlain who kept them off the Abjuration list.

The simplest explanation, that they appeared on the list, evaded taking the oath and were informed against, is to be preferred.

Wodrow does not mention if they failed to take the Abjuration in the fortnight before their trial. However, is clear is that Algie and Park had not taken the Abjuration before they were captured.

The Letter
The date that the letter was hand delivered on, Sunday, 1 February, 1685, makes it almost certain that it was sent after the Abjuration oath was pressed in Eastwood parish. At the time that it was sent, Algie and Park were among those who had failed to take the oath. The informer’s letter plainly intended to draw the authorities’ attention to Algie and Park, and presumably identified where the informer’s former tenants were to be found, i.e., at Kennishead.

Why was the letter sent?
There are a number of possible motives. According to Wodrow, it was due to the informer’s ire over Algie and Park’s desertion of the tack. However, was the informer’s anger the only reason for him directing the authorities to Algie and Park?

Wodrow’s motive for the informer obscures other possible motives.

As discussed above, it is possible that the informer, if he had submitted the list of inhabitants of his estate, was in the position of having to inform on Algie and Park or he would have had to face the same charge of treason as they did.

At the very least, he could have failed to vouch for them to the commissioners, which would have made them fugitives. However, it appears that the informer went beyond simply failing to vouch for them, as he chose to inform the authorities were they could be found and insisted that they act.

If the informer had submitted the list of inhabitants then he would have been responsible for securing the goods and gear of Algie and Park’s household or households after they were seized. That may have provided him with some compensation for the desertion of the tack. The explanation that his ire over the desertion of the tack led him to inform does make sense in that context, but it is only a partial explanation.

The informer’s ire over the tack also does not exclude the possibility that a sense of public duty may motivated the informer to expose the disloyal Algie and Park. One motive may had reinforced another.

Although Wodrow mentions breach of contract over the tack, he does not mention that the 500 merk reward offered by the privy council’s proclamation for identifying any member of the Societies may have influenced the informer. A possible thousand-merk reward for the capture and sentencing of both Algie and Park may have been very tempting to the informer, especially as it would have more than made up for any losses which he had accrued from the desertion of the tack. It is curious that Wodrow does not mention the reward due to the informer for turning in Algie and Park.

Who was the Informer?
The identity of the informer is not known. However, some local readers of Wodrow’s History may have been able to identify the individuals involved in the letter from clues contained in the text. It is clear that the informer was responsible for awarding tacks in the regality of Darnley in 1685. He would have been a prominent member of the community. Wodrow possibly knew who was involved in the letter, but like the inscribers of the gravestone, he did not publish their identifies.

Wodrow probably chose his words with care in order to balance local knowledge of the informer’s identity with a need not to place their name in the public domain. It is possible that the authors of the inscription on the gravestone may have felt the similar pressures to Wodrow, as they, too, did not reveal the name.

One could infer from the failure of both of the presbyterian sources to name the informer that either the informer, or their relatives, carried considerable social clout in the area, or that the publication of their name may have been embarrassing in presbyterian circles, or that a combination of those possibilities prevented the informer from being named. A similar set of circumstances appears to have prevented the names of those who judged Algie and Park from entering the public domain.

Who was Ferguslie?
The informer’s cousin delivered the letter to John Cochrane of Fergulie. The Regality of Darnley was a heritable jurisdiction, i.e., the landowner, the duke of Lennox, fulfilled the same functions as a sheriff within the bounds of the regality. As the duke was only twelve years old, the legal officer was his baillie, John Cochrane of Ferguslie.

Cochrane was a nephew of William Cochrane, first earl of Dundonald. Among his cousins were Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree, a suspect in the Rye House plots, Jean Cochrane, who was married to Colonel John Graham of Claverhouse, and Grizel Cochrane, the mother of William, Lord Ross. Another relative was John Cochrane, Lord Cochrane, later the second earl of Dundonald.

It appears that he did not hold the lands of Ferguslie at the time of Algie and Park’s trial, as a William Hamilton of Ferguslie was one of the commissioners of supply for Renfrewshire in May, 1685. (RPS, 1685/4/33.)

However, at some point after that he must have acquired Ferguslie. On 16 October, 1688, ‘John Cochrane of Ferguslie’ was appointed a captain of the companies raised to protect Glasgow in the run up to the Revolution.

After the Revolution, Cochrane of Ferguslie was a commissioner of supply in 1689 and 1690. He died without issue before 1697. His brother, William Cochrane of Ferguslie, was a Jacobite and held the title after him. (RPS, 1689/3/189, 1690/4/44.)

The letter to John Cochrane of Ferguslie was delivered to him while he was at church, which may indicate either that it was delivered to him at a time and place when it was known that Ferguslie would be present, or that the informer wanted the letter delivered in front of witnesses.

According to Wodrow, the letter informed Ferguslie that Algie and Park were ‘of rebellious principles, disowned the king’s authority, and defended the [Apologetical] declaration of the societies [against Intelligencers], adding, that it was his business, as judge ordinary, to notice them [Algie and Park] as he would be answerable.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Wodrow’s account is the only guide to the letter’s contents. It is not clear from the cryptic final phrase if the baillie’s willingness to root out fugitives was in doubt. Does the final phrase indicate a veiled threat or was it a reminder to Ferguslie of his duty under the terms of the proclamation? We do not know.

Wodrow then adds that the informer’s nephew was immediately secured by Ferguslie after the letter was delivered:

‘The bearer of the letter was put in close custody until the forenoon’s sermon was over, and then a party of soldiers were ordered out’. (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Why the informer’s cousin was briefly held in ‘close custody’ is not clear. Ferguslie may have taken the preventative step of securing him to stop word leaking out that Algie and Park had been discovered. Ferguslie may not have appreciated the tone of the letter.

Paisley in Seventeenth centuryPaisley

Captured
‘[Algie and Park were] were seized [on Sunday 1 February] in their own house just when about family worship, and carried down to Paisley that night’ and ‘examined there upon the common interrogatories. In which they not giving full satisfaction, were left in prison.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Algie and Park were only held in Paisley tolbooth for over a day, i.e., mainly on Monday 2 February.

‘While they were in prison, Mr James Hay, afterwards minister at Kilsyth since the revolution, was sent to them by Mr Matthew Crawford, who was much concerned in them, being some way part of his charge, but being denounced durst not go himself.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

James Hay was one of Wodrow’s ministerial brethren. In 1685, he was a moderate presbyterian preacher without a charge. Like Crawford, Hay did not share the Societies’ hardline covenanted platform. In 1688 he accept ministerial ordination under James VII’s edicts of toleration that the Societies detested. (Fasti, III, 479.)

The dynamic between Crawford and Hay reveals interesting contextual detail. As a fugitive, Crawford was in hiding, almost certainly either in the household of John Maxwell of Nether Pollock at Haggs Castle, or nearby under Maxwell’s protection.

Crawford rapidly responded to the capture of Algie and Park. He clearly appreciated the dangerous position they were in and quickly organised Hay’s visit to dissuade them from adhering to the Societies’ testimony. Hay’s visit must have taken place on 2 February.

‘Upon conversation with them, he [i.e., Hay] found they knew very little as to the debatable points upon which they had been interrogate, only they had lately drunk in some of the tenets of those who denied the king’s authority [i.e., of the Society people]: but upon conversation and further instruction, they appeared very willing to quit them. And after some pains taken upon them, they came, to be satisfied to take the abjuration oath.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

There are numerous cases of moderate presbyterian ministers entering prisons to attempt to persuade captured Society people to take oaths to avoid execution. According to Wodrow, Hay succeeded in getting Algie and Park to agree to take the Abjuration oath that renounced the Societies’ war of assassinations. However, Wodrow then dubiously claims that ‘but it seems their death was resolved on, whatever condescensions they should make.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189.)

Paisley TolboothPaisley Tolbooth

Algie and Park Before the Paisley Court
‘The commissioners having a justiciary power for that shire, met on Tuesday, [3 February].

And when an offer was made, in their name, in open court, that they would swear the [Abjuration] oath required in the [privy] council’s proclamation, [William Hamilton,] the laird of Orbiston, who now managed matters here and in Dumbartonshire, according to the bloody imposing spirit of the times, answered, directing himself to the two pannels, “The abjuration oath shall not save you; unless you take the test, you shall hang presently.”

The two plain good men, having a just abhorrence at the test, replied, “If to save our lives we must take the test, and the abjuration will not save us, we will take no oaths at all.”

And upon this qualified refusal of the abjuration, they were sentenced to die presently.’

‘The foresaid gentleman, one of their judges [i.e., Ormiston], after the sentence was passed, boast in the wickedness, and vauntingly say, “They thought to have cheated the judges, but by, I have tricked them.”.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 189-90.)

Wodrow’s narrative of the trial plainly accuses Ormiston of being the driving force behind Algie and Park’s execution. However, his narrative excludes the actions of the other commissioners in the court. On his own Ormiston did not have the power to condemn Algie and Park, as a quorum of commissioners had to be present at the court, i.e., at least three.

In 1749 William Crookshank named William, Lord Ross, as one of the judges: ‘John Park and James Algie in Eastwood were apprehended, and on the third brought before the Lord Ross, the Laird of Orbistoun, and others, the commissioners for the shire of Renfrew’. (Crookshank, History, II, 283.)

According to a broadside on Algie and Park’s martyrdom which was published in c.1835, ‘the truth was, [that] Lord Ross was the prime mover in all these bloody transactions, and Orbiston was a mere tool in his hands’. (A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie and John Park)

It is not clear if that later text’s identification of Lord Ross as the prime mover was public knowledge at the time when Wodrow wrote. Lord Ross had died in 1738, two decades after the gravestone was erected and the publication of Wodrow’s account.

Orbiston’s alleged outburst that they would be hanged if they also did not take the test was a threat, rather than a sentence. Ormiston’s threat allegedly bounced Algie and Park back to their previous position that they would take neither the test, nor the Abjuration.

According to Wodrow:

‘Had the poor men peremptorily demanded the benefit of the abjuration, even by the then laws they could not have taken their life, for they had no facts at all against them, and the test could not in law be required of them; but they had neither skill nor courage to plead before courts, and no lawyers were allowed to argue for them.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 190.)

Appointing a lawyer was almost certainly beyond the means of Algie and Park. Even if they could afford one, the Society people did not use legal representation in court as that recognised the court and king’s authority. Whatever Wodrow claimed was said in court, it is clear that both men ultimately refused the abjuration oath before the court. The sentence for doing so was immediate execution.

The commissioners ‘sentenced them in the forenoon, and they were executed [on the gibbet] that same day about two of the clock.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 190.)

Algie and Park were hanged on a gibbet at Paisley’s mercat cross which lay close by the tolbooth. The mercat cross was removed in 1692.

Street View of former site of Tolbooth and Mercat Cross

Either the short period of their confinement, or their alleged resolve to take the Abjuration or their rapid executions may explain why neither Algie, nor Park, left a martyrs’ testimony.

A Later Version of their Execution
In 1835 a different version of their execution appeared in The Liberator and a broadside pamphlet. Instead of Ormiston, it mainly blamed Lord Ross for their executions. It is tempting to believe that it revealed uncomfortable truths which Wodrow and the erectors of the gravestone had concealed. However, there is no obvious source for the material the broadside published. It also falls into the same trap as Wodrow did, as it blames one man for the actions of panel of judges.

‘When they came to the scaffold they behaved with great fortitude, but when they attempted to address the assembled multitude, the drums were beat to drown their voice. They sang the118th psalm, from the 17th verse downwards, and when giving out the lines:
“We shall not die, but live, and shall
The works of God discover”
the miscreant Lord Ross exclaimed, shaking his head,
“But ye shall die.”

The able and acute editor of Wodrow’s history, Dr. Burns, attempts to extenuate this infernal saying of Lord Ross, (merely, we suppose, because it was the saving of a Lord), on the grounds that that nobleman alluded to the chance of a rescue. But on reading Wodrow’s account of the execution, the very reverse of a rescue is quite apparent and no man can have the least hesitation in saying that the exclamation proceeded from the black malignant heart of the wretch.’ (A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie and John Park)

It is difficult to unravel the basis of the broadside’s accusations against Burns. The original edition of Wodrow’s History is not different from the Burns’ edition. Both editions do not mention Lord Ross or his words at Algie and Park’s execution. (See Wodrow, History (first edition), II, 461-2.)

‘After singing the psalm and praying, they offered their bible to any of the crowd that might be pleased to accept them, but such was, the general fear that no person would take them. The martyrs then quietly declared that they, would die with the word of truth in their bosoms. Their waiscoats were accordingly unbuttoned by the executioner, and the bibles placed nearest their heart, and in a few moments these worthy youths were launched into eternity.’ (A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie and John Park)

The broadside also offered an explanation for why William, Lord Ross, the convenor of the court, was not blamed:

‘The miscreant Lord Ross outlived the Revolution, and received emolument, and was covered with undeserved honour by the WHIGS;’ (A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie and John Park)

It then moves on to assure the readers that judgement was ultimately visited on him and his name:

‘but nothing could allay the horrors of his perturbed imagination, which peopled his den at Hawkhead with demons, and other evil spirits, Satan himself was said frequently to pay him a visit; and often had the pious ministers of the Abbey church to wait upon him for the purpose of soothing his awakened conscience. He at length went to his account; the name is now totally extinct, and the family is merged in that of’ Kelburne. And happy for the world, if any of that gall and malignity of spirit which characterized Lord Ross be inherited by his successors, it must quietly evaporate in the petty persecution of poachers.’ (A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie and John Park)

The Short Account’s discussion of Algie and Park’s execution was briefly mentioned in Thomson’s Martyr Graves without attribution. (Thomson, MGoS, 284.)

Did Wodrow suppress Lord Ross’s name and selectively blame Ormiston, a Jacobite, for political reasons? Given the pattern of evasion in naming “good revolution men” in the early sources it is possible that he did. Lord Ross also clearly had influence which may have made it politick to avoid naming him until after his death in 1738.

Gallowgreen PaisleyGallowgreen, Paisley © Lairich Rig and licensed for reuse.

The Burials of Algie and Park
Algie and Park were buried by sympathizers at the west end of Paisley in the Gallowgreen, the place where criminals were buried. According to Wodrow, their burial led to a dispute between soldiers and those burying the pair:

‘I am informed by some yet alive, who were present at their execution and burial, that the soldiers there present endeavoured to make the people who concerned themselves in their burial, to approve of their death, and declare they died justly, threatening them with present imprisonment if they did not so’. (Wodrow, History, IV, 190.)

Encounters between soldiers and those sympathetic to the Societies’ cause were a quite a common feature at the executions of the “martyrs” in burghs. Women often played the lead role in those disturbances.

Algie and Park’s forfeiture was posthumously rescinded by an act of the Scottish Parliament in 1690.

The Gravestone
Before 1714 a gravestone was erected to Algie and Park at Gallowgreen. For the inscription and details of it, see here. The site of their burial lay near the foot of Maxwellton Street.

Aerial View of Maxwellton Street and Gallowgreen

A fragment of the original gravestone may survive as a gravestone of unknown provenance which features two carved heads that is held in Paisley Museum and Art Gallery. The gravestone of Hay and Pitilloch in Cupar also features two carved heads, as well as the hand of Rathillet.

The Reburial of Algie and Park
In 1779, due to the expansion of Paisley, their remains were exhumed and moved, along with the gravestone, a short distance to the west to a new burial site beside the Broomlands Church. The area was intended to become a new public cemetery, but that plan took some time to materialise.

According to Burns, the editor of Wodrow:
‘in consequence of the extension of the buildings of the town over the Gallowgreen, their bones were taken up, decently re-interred in a more suitable spot, and a flat stone laid over the grave with a suitable inscription. This was done by the order and at the expense of the magistrates and council of the burgh.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 190n.)

Map of the Monument to Algie and Park

The ‘flat stone’, now very worn, does not appear to be the same stone as the original gravestone. It is located next to the 1835 monument to Algie and Park.

Algie and Park Inscription 1835Obelisk to Algie and Park © Lairich Rig and licensed for reuse.

A New Monument
In 1835, the Broomlands church was rebranded as the Martyrs’ Church and the suitably-inscribed ‘flat stone’ was joined by a large obelisk. At the same time the grave was encompassed within the new Woodside Cemetery development.

Aerial View of Monument to Algie and Park          Street View of Entry to Monument to Algie and Park.

The monument’s inscription is also badly worn. Part of it is inscribed as follows:
‘The stone, containing the Epitaph transcribed on this Monument, was erected over the grave on the Gallowgreen, the place of Common Execution; and on the occasion of the ground’s being built upon, it was removed near to this spot, along with the remains of the martyrs, by order of the Magistrates, John Storie, John Patison, & John Cochran, MDCCLXXIX.’

In about the same year, the popular broadside A Short Account of the Martyrdom of James Algie and John Park (c.1835) was published. A copy of it can be found on the NLS website.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.


Filed under: 1685, Abjuration oath, Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, Charles II, Covenanter Sites, Covenanters, Duchess of Portsmouth, duke of Lennox, earl of Glencairn, Eastwood parish, France, Haggs Castle, James Algie (d.1685), James Hay, James Renwick, John Cochrane of Ferguslie, John Houston younger of that ilk, John Maxwell of Nether Pollok, John Park (d.1685), John Schaw younger of Greenock, Kennishead, Lord Cochrane, Lord Ross, Matthew Crawford, Paisley, Paisley parish, Renfrewshire, Scotland, Scottish History, William Hamilton of Orbiston Tagged: Charles II, Covenanters, Glasgow, History, Martyrs, Paisley, Pollock House, Scotland, Scottish History
12/8/12

Wodrow and the Paisley Court that executed Algie and Park in February, 1685

Paisley Tolbooth

Paisley Tolbooth

One problem with Wodrow’s account of Algie and Park’s execution is that he did not directly identify the form of court held at Paisley Tolbooth which tried them. Fortunately, he did provide evidence about that court elsewhere in his History.

Why is the kind of court that Algie and Park faced an important issue? If Algie and Park faced a justiciary court which dealt with cases arising from the pressing of the Abjuration oath, then that means that the Abjuration oath was pressed across Renfrewshire in the month before their trial and execution.

Why is that important? If the Abjuration oath, which renounced the Societies’ war of assassinations declared in the Apologetical Declaration, was pressed, then some key events in the story of Algie and Park took place against the background of the oath being pressed in Eastwood parish. If that was the case, then Wodrow’s story of Algie and Park appears in a different light.

What Kind of Court was it?
Wodrow knew some of the people brought before the same court as Algie and Park. After his discussion of the Paisley martyrs, he mentions a few cases which shed light on the kind of court before which Algie and Park were tried.

The court was held at Paisley, the head burgh of Renfrewshire.

The Case of Crawfordsburn
One case that Wodrow mentioned that was tried before the Paisley court was that of Thomas Crawford, younger of Crawfordburn, i.e., Cartsburn, in Greenock parish, Renfrewshire.

Map of Cartsburn/Cartsdyke

‘I shall only add one other instance of the severity of this court at Paisley, come to my hand since … Rolls of all the inhabitants were called for [to take the Abjuration oath in mid January, 1685], and because Thomas Crawford, then younger of Crawfords-burn, was not so timeous in giving in a list of the inhabitants of his lands, as they would have had him, he is fined in a hundred pounds. Indeed it was afterwards remitted;’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

Under the terms of the privy council’s proclamation on the Abjuration oath of 30 December, 1684, Crawfordsburn had to submit a list of the inhabitants of his estate within fifteen days of the proclamation being read in his parish church. Crawfordsburn was fined because he submitted his list too late. It appears that Crawfordsburn’s fine was ultimately dropped.

Crawfordsburn’s father served in the Renfrewshire militia during the Argyll Rising in mid 1685 and was present at a skirmish with some of Argyll’s men at Greenock kirk. The earl of Argyll presented Crawfordsburn, elder, with a silver snuff box when he was taken as a captive to Renfrew. (Wodrow, History, IV, 293, 299.)

The Case of Robert Shearer
A second and related case before the court was that of Robert Shearer in Greenock parish.

‘Because Robert Shearer, sailor in Crawfords-dyke, (yet alive) did not compear before them [when the Abjuration oath was pressed in Greenock parish], the commissioners ordered his goods to be sequestrate, and his wife to be imprisoned in Dumbarton castle.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

Like Crawfordsburn’s case, Wodrow made Shearer’s punishment look harsh. However, it was a straight forward application of the privy council’s orders, which stated that if a landowner failed to engage for any of the inhabitants of his lands when the Abjuration oath was pressed, then they were to be regarded as fugitives, their family seized and placed in the nearest prison, and their goods secured.

‘The execution of which was put upon their master, the forementioned present laird of Crawfords-burn; which invidious work when he did not do, he was severely threatened to be represented to the government; but this was happily prevented by favour of [William Ross,] the lord Ross [of Halkhead].’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

Under the terms of the privy council’s proclamation, Crawfordsburn as Shearer’s master was responsible for ensuring that Shearer’s goods were secured until the courts officers could dispose of them. The failure of a master to concur with those instructions led to them being ‘holden as guilty of the foresaid crimes, and pursued and punished accordingly’, In this case, Lord Ross, the convenor of the Abjuration court, later intervened to save Crawfordsburn.

The case of Robert Shearer indicates that the Abjuration oath had been pressed in Renfrewshire before Algie and Park were brought before the court at Paisley.

The Case of Robert King
A third case mentioned by Wodrow was that of Robert King, a miller at Shaws Bridge by Pollockshaws in Eastwood parish. Shaws Bridge lay next to Algie and Park’s home at Kennishead.

Map of Shaws Bridge          Street View of Shaws Bridge

‘Another instance of unaccountable severity at this court [at Paisley], upon the same day, was in the case of Robert King miller at Pollockshaws, in the same parish of Eastwood, which may let us into a further view of the treatment country people met with at those courts. This good man died but lately [in c.1717] in a good old age, and I have several times had the accounts of his severe treatment from himself. Before this he had been twice fined for mere nonconformity, in forty pounds Scots, and at both times much more than the sum was exacted by the soldiers when they came upon him at different times.

The firmness and composure of his wife Janet Scouler, under the severities of the soldiers, was truly remarkable, and in my opinion deserves a room here. This excellent woman was far beyond the common size of country people, for good sense and solid knowledge, and was really extraordinary for serious exercising religion. I could insert several very singular instances of it in her, and of the Lord’s manifestations of his covenant to her, were this a place for it.

One day a party of soldiers came to their house and rifled it, taking away two or three horses, and five or six cows, and had plundered the house of any thing portable. When they were doing all this, Janet was perfectly easy and composed, not in the least ruffled, so that the soldiers could not but take notice of it . When the cattle were driving alongst the Shaw-bridge, at the end of which their house was, Janet came to the door, and looked after them. One of the soldiers observing her, and being a little more merciful than the rest, turned about and said, “Poor woman, I pity thee.” Janet answered him with a great deal of gravity and cheerfulness, “Poor,” said she, “I am not poor, you cannot make me poor, God is my portion, and yon cannot make me poor.” This was to glory in her tribulation, and to rejoice at all times, and bless the Lord continually.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 190.)

Wodrow then moves to the events of 3 February, the day of Algie and Park’s trial:

‘To return to her husband; a party of soldiers upon the 3d of February pretty early, came to his house, and brought him down prisoner to Paisley. Nothing could ever be laid to his charge but mere nonconformity, he having never borne arms [at Bothwell in 1679].’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 190-1.)

His description of King as a ‘mere’ nonconformist suggests that the Paisley court also dealt with those who had appeared on a list submitted by the local minister, William Fisher, of those who did not attend church. Similar lists were submitted by ministers in Ayrshire and Wigtownshire in October/November, 1684. (Fasti, III, 134.)

Wodrow was not always accurate when it came to the charges that individuals faced before a court. From the evidence of the cases of Crawfordland, Shearer and of Algie and Park, it is almost certain that the Abjuration oath had been pressed in parishes across Renfrewshire in mid-to-late January, 1685. It appears that King had also not taken either the Test or the Abjuration oath. If King had taken the Abjuration, he would have appeared on the lists held by the commissioners and held a testificate to prove that he had taken the oath. The judges almost certainly had grounds other than nonconformity to send troops to apprehend King.

‘He was presented before the commissioners [at the Paisley court] met upon the former occasion [i.e., 3 February], whose severity was chiefly owing to the violence of the gentleman last named [i.e., William Hamilton of Orbiston].’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

King was then asked the usual questions, which were designed to ascertain if he held treasonable opinions.

‘When Robert King is before them, he was interrogate, if the death of [James Sharp] the archbishop [of St Andrews] was murder. He answered, he did not understand the matter so far, as to determine in it.

Again he was asked, if the king sinned in rescinding the covenant. He told them, he would not answer to such questions as these.

After they had put several more to him, they put the test to him, which he peremptorily refused.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

Wodrow’s account then mentions that the execution of Algie and Park had preceded King’s case:

‘In the time of his examination, the two forenamed young men [Algie and Park], his neighbours and acquaintances, were hanging upon the gibbet before the tolbooth of Paisley, where the court sat.

Robert was bid look upon these two before the window, and assured (the threatening was illegal as well as barbarous) that if he took not the test, immediately he would be knit up with them. He refused for a good while.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

Wodrow alleges that King was put under severe pressure to respond to the commissioners’ insistence that he took the oaths. In Wodrow’s version, the treatment of King appears as a barbarous act, but a more generous interpretation would be that the commissioners gave King time to reconsider his refusal as they were not the bloodthirsty types which Wodrow made them out to be. The commissioners did offer King merciful treatment if he took the oaths:

‘To fright him the more, they shut him up in a corner of the prison, permitting nobody but his guard of soldiers to be near him, and told him, he had but an hour more to live; and the trumpet was to be sounded thrice, and if he sat the third summons at the expiring of the hour, there was no mercy for him.

When he was sent off, the first blast was given, and in less than half an hour the next. The poor man, brought to this pinch just from his work, was much frighted, and no great wonder, and fell into very great confusion, and as he himself used to express it, was perfectly out of himself; and in his fright, when warned before the last sound of the trumpet, he complied and took the test.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

It appears that King was released after he took the oaths.

What was the ‘test’ oath that King took? The timing of the court, its scope and remit, and the fact that King was faced with immediate execution suggest that he also faced the Abjuration oath, which specifically renounced the Societies ‘war’ of assassinations, rather than just the Test oath.

Wodrow did his best to vindicate his parishioners actions. It is possible that Wodrow had to deal with King’s troubled conscience over taking the oaths many years later when he was minister of Eastwood:

‘This was matter of heavy vexation to him for many a year; and the Lord gave him repentance not to be repented of for this involuntary fall, which was more the sin of his persecutors than his.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 191.)

Taken together, the pattern of cases before the Paisley court indicates that the Abjuration oath had been pressed across Renfrewshire in the weeks before James Algie and John Park were executed.

How the Abjuration oath was administered in Renfrewshire in the weeks before their trial highlights omissions from, and unexplained elements of, Wodrow’s narrative.

How the Abjuration oath was pressed in Eastwood parish.
On 30 December, 1684, the privy council ordered the commissioners and other officers to proclaim their instructions for taking the Abjuration oath in every parish church in the shire when preaching took place on the Sabbath. In Algie and Park’s case, the proclamation would have been read in Eastwood parish church, probably on Sunday 4 January, or the following Sabbath.

Once the proclamation had been publicly announced, ‘all heritors, liferenters, wadsetters, and, in their absence, their factors or chamberlains,’ were to submit ‘an exact list of the names’ of every inhabitant of their lands within fifteen days to the parish minister. In 1685, Eastwood’s parish minister was William Fisher. The list was probably delivered into Fisher’s hand by on Sunday 18 January, or Sunday 25 January.

At some point after that, a day for the swearing of the oath would have taken place in Eastwood parish. It is not clear when that day took place, but it appears to have been held before Algie and Park’s trial on 3 February, as the Paisley court dealt with cases from across Renfrewshire due to the pressing of the oath.

On the day that the oath was publicly sworn, the heritors, factors, etc. of Eastwood parish would have assembled all of the inhabitants on their lands and brought them before the shire commissioners.

The shire commissioners were William Ross, Lord Ross (convenor), William Hamilton of Orbiston (certainly present), John Cunningham, earl of Glencairn, John Schaw, younger of Greenock, John Houston, younger of that ilk and John Cochrane, Lord Cochrane.

The list of names would have been used by the commissioner or commissioners present when the heritors, factors etc. and all the other inhabitants of their lands of sixteen years and over took the oath. All subscriptions would have been recorded on a large sheet of paper and testificates issued to all who subscribed. The testificate was a pass for anyone who travelled outside of Eastwood parish.

Anyone who refused the oath was to be immediately secured for trial.

If anyone on the list of names was absent from the swearing of the oath for legitimate reasons, their heritors, factors etc, were to engage to produce them before one of the commissioners or other officers within a reasonable time frame.

If the heritors, factors etc. were not prepared to engage for absentees from their estate, then those absentees were to be considered fugitives, their families were to be imprisoned for transportation to the American plantations and their goods were to be sequestrated.

Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved.


Filed under: 1685, Abjuration oath, Apologetical Declaration Against Intelligencers, Covenanters, Dumbarton, earl of Glencairn, Eastwood parish, Greenock parish, James Algie (d.1685), Janet Scouler, John Houston younger of that ilk, John Park (d.1685), John Schaw younger of Greenock, Lord Cochrane, Lord Ross, Paisley, Paisley parish, Pollockshaws, Renfrewshire, Robert King (Eastwood), Robert Shearer, William Hamilton of Orbiston Tagged: Covenanters, Eastwood, Greenock, History, Paisley, Scotland, Scottish History