Alexander S Morton.

Galloway and the Covenanters; or, The struggle for religious liberty in the south-west of Scotland online

. (page 21 of 28)
Online LibraryAlexander S MortonGalloway and the Covenanters; or, The struggle for religious liberty in the south-west of Scotland → online text (page 21 of 28)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

demned, yet he might be tortured with respect to
conspiracies and crimes that had happened since.
Accordingly, the Council met to examine him, with

* Kdward Aitken. See page 309.


the instrument of torture standing by, but it was
not applied, as he satisfied them he would be more full
in his answers without the torture than with it. The
answers contained nothing that implicated cither
Earlston or the Society People in any attempt against
the King.

On November 23rd, another letter came from the
King, ordering the Council to put him to the torture,
but when he was brought in and ordered to the boots,
he became furious and tossed the soldiers about the
room, to the terror of the Council, who bolted till he
was secured. Physicians declared that he was too ill
to undergo torture, and he was afterwards reprieved
three times, and in May was sent to the Bass where
he was kept till the Revolution set him free.

His wife, Janet Hamilton, daughter of Sir Thomas
Hamilton of Preston, was no ordinary woman. She
was a correspondent of James Eenwick, and many of
his letters were addressed to her. Her religious
meditations have been frequently published under the
title of Lady Earlston's Soliloquies.

Earlston was a member of the Scottish Convention
which declared the Throne vacant, and settled the
Crown on William and Mary. He became the com-
mander of the Stewartry Militia, commissioner of
supply, and lived till after 1726.




•William M'Millan of Caldow persecuted and becomes fugitive —
Goes to Ireland — Licensed to preach — Arrested in Galloway —
Extract from Kirkcudbright Burgh Records, showing an
order for his removal to Edinburgh Tolbooth — Imprisoned
at Dumfries for thirty-five months without any charge —
Liberated — Failing to appear is denounced rebel — Arrested
and taken to Wigtown— Sent to Kirkcudbright and then to
Dumfries Castle — Imprisoned in Edinburgh and afterwards
at Dunottar.

William M'Millan of Caldow, in the parish of
Balmaclellan, after the re-introduction of Prelacy, was
persecuted by Mr. Robert Moir, curate of Bal-
maclellan, assisted by Sir James Turner. He was
obliged to leave his mother's house for mere non-
conformity, and to live as a fugitive. He took no part
in the Dairy rising, yet Sir William Bannantyne
quartered his men upon his family, apprehended him-
self, and kept him prisoner for some time in the house
of Earlston then held as a garrison. His goods and
furniture were seized, notwithstanding he had given
bond for £1,000 to answer for anything that could be
laid to his charge. He went frequently to Ireland to
escape persecution, and was prevailed upon by the
Presbyterian ministers of the County of Down to
qualify as a minister, and was licensed to preach about


the year 1673. When in the most peaceable manner he
was preaching in Galloway, he was informed against
by the prelates, and the Earl of Nithsdale sent two
of his militia troop — Alexander Maxwell, afterwards
of Cowheath, and William Glendoning of Parton —
with some other violent Papists, who seized him and
carried him to Kirkcudbright. The following extract
regarding him is taken from the Burgh Records of
Kirkcudbright : —

" At Kirkcudbright, the 13th day of November,
1676. The quhilk day, Thomas Lidderdaill of
St. Marie's Isle, Stewart deput of the Stewartrie
of Kirkcudbright, presented to Samuel Carmont,
ane of the bailzies of the said Burgh ane order
direct from the Lords of his Majestie's Privie
Counsell, Quhairby the said Lords doe ordaine
Maister William M'Millan, ane noted keiper of
field conventicles, now prisoner in the tolbooth
of the said Burgh of Kirkcudbright, to be trans-
ported to the tolbooth of Edinburgh. And for
that effect, grants order and warrand to the
Stewart of the Stewartrie of Kirkcudbright and
his deputes, within the boundes of whose juris-
dictione he is incarcerat, to tak the said Mr.
William M'Millan into his custodie, and to carrie
him prisoner to the Sheriff of the next adjacent
shyer, and so furth from shyer to shyer till he
be brought prisoner to the said tolbooth of Edin-
burgh. And ordaines the Magistrates of Edin-
burgh to receive and detain him prisoner therein


until further order: as the said order subscribed
by Mr. Alexander Gibson, and datit at Edin-
burgh the elevint day of October, now last bypast.
Conforme and in obedience quhairunto the said
Thomas Lidderdaill, Stewart-deput, hes received
from the said Samuel Carmont, Bailzie, the said
Master William M'Millan furth of the said
tolbooth of Kirkcudbright, and the said Stewart
deput hath delyvered him to William Hemes of
Cloik, conform to ane order direct from Robert,
Lord Maxwell, principal Stewart. And the said
William Herries with his partie, is to convey the
said Mr. William M'Millan to the Shorff of
Nithisdaill or his deput, who is the next adjacent
Sherff; and to get ane ressait of him from them,
for the said principal Stewart and his deput, their
exoneratione. As witness their following sub-

" Tho. Lidderdaill,

William Herries."

He was taken to Dumfries, where he was kept
prisoner without a charge for nearly three years.
After many applications to the Council, he was
liberated. He was cited to the first Circuit at Dum-
fries after Both well for reset and converse. He failed
to appear, and at the Cross of Dumfries was denounced
rebel and fugitive, and his goods confiscated to the
King's use. He was obliged to lurk many months in
the open fields, to the injury of his health, which at
best was infirm. Those hardships brought on fever,


and when still suffering from it, he was, with his
infirm wife, dragged by the soldiers to the Court at
Dumfries. Refusing the Test, he was ordered to be
carried to Wigtown to abide trial there. The soldiers
forced him to walk till he fainted, and when he fell
down they seized a young wild colt and set him upon
it, without saddle or anything under him, to the great
danger of his life. At Wigtown he had no lodging
but the open guard house, without any bed for eight
days, and no place to retire to. When the Lords came
to Wigtown, he petitioned that he might not have the
guards continually about him, or that he might be
allowed to give bond to appear at Edinburgh, but both
were refused. From Wigtown he was sent to Kirk-
cudbright, where Lagg, by orders, as he said, from
Queensberry, threatened him most severely if he would
not take the Test. He refused, and was sent to
Dumfries Castle, where he was detained with others
from 22nd October till 22nd November. On 22nd
November they were carried to Moffat Kirk, where
they lay all night cold and wet, and then they were
taken to Leith. By order of the Council, M'Millan
and thirty-four more were distributed to several
prisons in Edinburgh. About 18th May the following
year, they were sent to Dunottar.

A petition was presented to the Privy Council by
" Grizel Cairns and Alison Johnstone in behalf of
Mr. William M'Millan and Robert Young, wright in
Edinburgh, their husbands, and the rest of the
prisoners," setting forth the lamentable condition in
which the prisoners were kept. The Privy Council


gave orders to the Deputy Governor " to permit meat
and drink and other necessaries to be brought in to
the petitioners at the ordinary easy rates, and to allow
the said Mr. William M'Millan and Robert Young a
distinct room from the rest."

It would seem that M'Millan took the Oath of
Allegiance, and was liberated on an undertaking to
appear when called on, under penalty of five thousand

Professor Reid asks the question, " Is Caldow an
error for Caldons?" There is a stone in Minnigaff
churchyard which refers to "James M'Millan and
Anthony, his son, in Caldons," Caldons, of course,
being in Minnigaff parish. It would appear that the
M'Millans were connected with both places, for we
find that, on 10th June, 1674, William M'Millan of
Caldonis had principal sasine of the land of Caldow
in Balmaclellan, and in 1682, Thomas, probably the
son of William, was owner.

The famous John M'Millan was connected with the
same family. On the fly-leaf of an old copy of the
Confession of Faith, in the possession of Mr. John
M'Millan, Glenhead, the following names have been
written, evidently as a family register: —

(1) (part destroyed), born 1664.

(2) John M'Millan, do., 1682.

(3) James M'Millan, do., 1692.

(4) Mary M'Millan, do.. 1715.

It has been suggested that this John may have been
the future minister, but this is extremely doubtful.


He is believed to have been born at Barncaughla in
Minnigaff parish in 1669, and he became minister of
Balmaghie in 1701. He had, while a student, joined
" the Societies," and he presented a Statement of
Grievances to the Presbytery in 1703, complaining
that The Solemn League and Covenant was ignored,
and that the Church's freedom was invaded by the
State. He was deposed, but continued to occupy the
church. He became the pastor of " The Societies,"
and for nearly half a century discharged the onerous
duties with matchless zeal and unsurpassed fidelity.
Some of the chief incidents of his life may be gleaned
from the following inscription on his monument at
Dalserf churchyard: —

East side: —

A public tribute to the memory of the Rev. John Macmillan,
minister of Balmaghie in Galloway, and afterwards first
minister to the United Societies in Scotland, adhering at
the Revolution to the whole Covenanted Reformation in
Britain and Ireland, attained between 1638 and 1649. An
exemplary Christian ; a devoted minister ; and a faithful
witness to the Cause of Christ : died December First,
1753, aged eighty-four.

"Look unto Abraham your father; for I called him
alone, and blessed him and increased him." — Isa.
li. 8.

North side: —

Mr. Macmillan acceded to the Societies in 1707. The
Reformed Presbytery was constituted in 17+3; and the
Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Scotland
in 1811.

" Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." — I. Sam. vii. 19.


South side: —

Erected at the grave of Mr. Macraillan by the inhabitants
of the surrounding Country of all denominations, who
testified their respect to his much venerated memory, by
attending and liberally contributing at a Sermon Preached
on the spot, September eighth, 1839, by the Rev. A.
Symington, D.D., Paisley.

" Why should not ray countenance be sad, when the
city, the place of my fathers' sepulchres, lieth
waste." — Neheraiah ii. 3.

West side: —

Mr. Macmillan was succeeded in the ministry by his son, the
Rev. John Macmillan of Sandhills, near Glasgow, who
died February Sixth, 1808, aged seventy-nine ; and by his
grand-son, the Rev. John Macmillan, of Stirling, who
died October Twentieth, 1818, aged sixty-eight. These
preached the same Gospel, and ably advocated the same
public cause, adorning it with their lives, and bequeathing
to it their Testimony and the Memory of the Just.

"Instead of thy fathers should be thy children." —
Psalm xli. lb'.

In Balmaghie church a memorial brass has been
erected, bearing the following inscription: —

To the Glory of God
and in memory of
Born at Barncauchlaw, Minnigaff, 1669 :
Ordained minister of the Parish of Balmaghie 1701 :
Accepted the Pastorate of the United Societies 1706 :
Which office he laboriously discharged for 47 years :
Died at Broomhill, Bothwell, 1753. Buried in
Dalserf Churchyard.

"A Covenanter of the Covenanters:

A Father of the Reformed Presbyterian Church :

A Faithful Minister of Jesus Christ."

This Tablet is placed here by his Great-great-grandson.

John Grieve, M.D., Glasgow, 1895.




Names of Committee and of those who received their instructions
— Commissioners — Gold and silver plate surrendered for the
cause — List of those delivering up silver work with details —
Assessment imposed, and crops valued — Valuers — Definition
of " cold covenanter " — Reports by members of Committee
of cold covenanters in their respective parishes.

When the Covenanters found it necessary to resort to
arms, a War Committee was formed, and the chief
covenanting nobleman in each county was placed at
the head of his regiment with the title of " Crowner,"
and the principal gentry were appointed to act under
him. The Minute Book of the War Committee of the
Covenanters in the Stewartry in the year 1640-41 has
been published, and affords much interesting in-
formation. The records show that the following
gentlemen acted on the Committee or received their
instructions: — Sir Patrick M'Kie of Larg; John,
third Viscount Kenmure; Alexander Gordon of Earls-
ton; John Macghie of Balmaghie; William Grierson
of Bargalton; Robert M'Clelland, first Lord Kirk-
cudbright; John Lennox elder of Cally, and Alexander
Lennox, his son; John Fullerton of Carelton; John
Gordon of Cardoness; Lord Galloway; John Mac-
knacht of Kilquhennatie; Robert Maxwell of Cavence;


Richard Muir of Cassincarrie (some of these received
instructions to arrange about providing horses for tho
troops, with arms, etc.); John Cutlar of Orroland,
John Reddick of Dalbeattie; William Gordon of
Sherness; William Gordon of Kirkconnel; Thomas
M'Clellane of Colly n; Lancelot Grier of Dalskearthe;
George Glendonyng in Mochrum; David Arnot of
Barcaple; William Glendonyng, late Provost of Kirk-
cudbright; Alexander Gordon of Knockgray; Alex-
ander Gordon of Garlarge; Robert Gordon of Knock-
brex; John Ewart, bailie of Kirkcudbright; William
Lyndsay in Fairgirthe; Hew Maxwell in Mersheid;
and Robert Gordon, brother germane to John Gordon
of Caronnell. Commissioners were appointed to the
different parishes on behalf of the Committee to
recover payment for the soldiers and otherwise to carry
out the Committee's instructions, and the following
are the names of some of the commissioners: — Thomas
Roney of Irongray, Commissioner for that parish;
William Lindsay for Colvend and the Suddick; Robert
Maxwell of Cavence for Lochrutton; John Stewart of
Shambellie for New Abbey; John Charters of Barne-
cleuche for Terregles; John Brown for Troqueer;
Hugh Maxwell in Torrorie for Kirkbean; David
Cannon of Knocks for Buittle.

The Committee were charged with the raising of
funds, and those who supported them had to lend what
money they had, and when this was not sufficient they
had to hand in whatever gold and silver plate and
silver work they possessed, and among those who are
entered as delivering up silver work, the weight and


details of which are given, arc the following: — John
Lennox of Kellie; Robert Gordon of Knockbrex;
George Glendonyng, Mochrum ; Grissell Gordon, spouse
of Umqle, minister of Urr; Marione M'Clellane, wyff
of late James Ramsay (ordained to present her Bairnes
silver work, and that notwithstanding of any reasones
proponit in the contrair); Erlistoun; Alex. Gordon,
Carstraman; Kirkconnell: Dabtoun — Andro Chalmers
of Watersyde — John Charters of Barnacleuche; Robert
Gordon of Knockbrex, in name of Mrs. Gordon of
Robertoun; George Livingston of Quintenespie; John
Fullarton of Carletoun; William Grierson of Bargal-
toun; Lady Cardyness for her husband.

As a local writer remarks, great indeed must have
been the enthusiasm, and equally great the necessity,
that called for such sacrifice.

A regular assessment was also imposed, and crops
were formally valued to ascertain the proportion pay-
able by the owner to the War Fund.

Among those appointed as valuers of crops we find
the following: — John Martin in Newtoun; Gilbert
Rain in Bishopton; William Rain there; John Robe-
son; Robert Conquhar in Balgreddan; Donald Wilson
in Halkit, Leaths; John Maxwell in Guffogland;
Roger Morrisone in Cassillgour; Adam Wright in
Dundrennan; John Cultrain and James Malcolm
there; William Martin of Dullarg; William Gordon
in Crachie; Alexander M'Kill in Arnemabbock; and
Fergus Neilson in Glenlair; William Clinton in Carle-
ton; John Shaw; John M'Dowall in Barholm; and
Thomas Robeson, Maltman, in Kirkcudbright.


This Committee carried out its operations in a,
thorough, business-like manner, and was undoubtedly
the best organised in Scotland.

The following excerpt from one of the Minutes
shows that they kept an eye on every person in the
Stewartry: —

" The quhilk day, the Committee foirsaid finds
and declares ane cold covenanter to be suche ane
persone quha does not his dewtie in everie
thing committed to his charge, thankfullie and
willinglie, without compulsion for the further-
ance of the publict.

" The quhilk day, Alexander Gordon of Knock-
grey, Captain of the parochen of Carsfarne,
declares no cold or uncovenanters within that

"Alexander Gordon of Erlistone declares no
cold or uncovenanters to be within the parochen
of Dairy, whereof he is Captain, except Johne

" Alexander Gordon of Gairlarg, Captain of the
parochen of Kelles, declares no cold or uncoven-
anters to be within the said parochen of Kelles.

" William Gordon of Shirmers, Captain of the
parochen of Balmaclellan, declares no cold or
uncovenanters within his parochen.

" George Glendonyng of Mochrum, Captain of
the parochen of Partone, declares the lyke.

" George Livingstone, Captain of the parochen
of Balmaghie, declares the lyke.


" William Gordon of Kirkconnell, Captain of
the parochess of Buittle, Corcemichael, and others,
declares no cold or uncovenanters within his
bounds except John Maxwell of Mylnetone,
William Maxwell of Midkeltone, Gilbert Max-
well of Slognaw, Mr. Patrik Adamsone, sum-
tyme Minister at Buittle, Mr. James Scott,
symtyme Minister at Tungland, George Tait,
Paul Reddik, Johne Browne of Mollance, Robert
Browne, his brother, Johne Maxwell of Colignaw,
James Maxwell of Brekansyde, Thomas M'Gill
of Keltone.

" William Lindsay, Captain of the parodies of
Colvend and Suthik, declares that no cold or non-
covenanters within these parochess, except James
Lindsay of Auchenskeoch; Andro Lindsay, his
sone, Robert Lindsay, his sone, Charles Lindsay,
his oy *; Johne Lindsay of Wachope; Charles
Lindsay, his uncle; Lancelot Lindsay, brother
naturall to Wachope; Johne Lindsay, his brother
naturall; Roger Lindsay of Maynes; Johne and
James Lindsayes, his sones; Charles Murray of
Barnhurrie; David Lindsay, sone to James Lind-
say of Fairgirthe; Richard and William Herreiss,
brethren to Robert Herreis of Barnebaroche; and
the said Robert, late covenanter.

" Robert Maxwell of Cavens, Captain of the
parochen of Lochruttone, declares no cold or un-
covenanters within his bounds except Edward

* Grandson.


Maxwell of Hills; William Maxwell, his sone;
Alexander Maxwell, his naturall sone; Lady
Auchenfranko; Richard Herreis, hir sone;
Edward Maxwell, callit of Carswada; Gudewyfe
of Hills; and John Welshe in Langwodheid.

" Johne Cutlar of Orroland, Captain of the
Parochen of Rerrik, declares no cold or un-
covenanters within his bounds except Robert Max-
well of Orchardtone; William Makclellane of
Airds; William Makclellane of Overlaw; Robert
Maxwell of Culnachtrie; Harie Lindsay of Ros-
carrell; John Makclellane of Gregorie; William
Makclellane of Meirfield.

" Lancelot Grier, Captain of the Parochen of
Troqueer, declares no cold or uncovenanters within
his bounds, except Johne Maxwell of Kirk-
connell; Elizabeth Maxwell, his mother; Helene
Maxwell, Lady Mabie; John Herreis of Mabie,
hir 6one.

" Captain of the Parochen of Newabbay de-
clares no cold or uncovenanted within his bounds,
except James Maxwell of Littlebar.

" Captain of the Parochen of Kirkbeane de-
clares the lyke, except Johne Sturgeon of
Torrerrie; Johne Sturgeon in Cowcorse.

" James Smithe, Captain of the Parochen of
Irongrey, declares no non-covenanters within his

" Johne Reddik of Dalbeattie, Captain of the
Parochen of Urr, declares the lyke.


" Roger Maknacht of Killquhenatie, Captain
of the Parochen of Kirkpatrick, declares the lyke.

" Johne Fullartone of Carletone declares the

" David Arnot of Barcaple declares the lyke.

" Richard Muir of Cassincarrie declares the




Blames his father for harbouring Covenanters — Meets Renwick —
Throws in his lot with the Covenanters — Father's opposition
— Leaves home — Adventures and escapes — Returns to Kirk-
cowan after the Revolution.

Andrew Forsyth, the Galloway drover, belonged to
the parish of Kirkcowan, where his father was a
farmer. Andrew had once regarded the non-con-
formists as fanatics and rebels, but he did not take
any part in persecuting or informing against them,
particularly as his father sympathised with the
Covenanters, and frequently afforded them shelter.
One day a conventicle had been dispersed in the neigh-
bourhood of Newton Stewart, and the preacher and two
others sought safety in Andrew's father's house.
Andrew was out at the time, but when he returned he
was much displeased to find the fugitives there, and
blamed his father for receiving them and exposing
himself to persecution. His father replied that he
eould not find it in his heart to put them away, adding
that he was sure they would make a favourable im-
pression on him. Andrew scouted the idea of such a
thing, but agreed to meet them, and the demeanour of
the youngest arrested his attention. " His countenance
was fair, and suffused with a sweet placidity. His


voice was soft and plaintive. His conversation cheer-
ful and full of heavenliness. No man could look on
him without loving him." This was James Renwick,
and after hearing him, Andrew became another man,
and soon afterwards resolved to join the Covenanters.
On returning home from a conventicle, he informed
his father of his resolution but, to his surprise, he met
with the strongest opposition. His father by this time
had become a suspected person through harbouring
the intercommuned, and his laird had let him know
that, unless he desisted, he would have to go. He,
therefore, raised every objection to his son's proposal,
but in vain. The laird had threatened to eject the
father, and now the father threatened to eject the son.
Andrew resolved to move to a distance, so that no
injury might come to his father through him, and he
got employment as a shepherd at Glenlee. He soon
became prominent on the side of the Covenanters, and
was in consequence sought after by the persecutors.
On one occasion he was at Fingland when a party of
dragoons came to his house in search of him, and as he
was returning, he met them in the moor. Escape was
impossible, so he assumed an air of indifference, and
asked if they were in search of the drover. They
replied that they were, and he then informed them that
he had seen him a short time before at Fingland.
They galloped off without further enquiry, and he at
once sought a place of safety till they had left the
neighbourhood. After this he formed a retreat in the
heart of a great moss, to which he retired in time of


He was ultimately taken by surprise in the farm
house one night, and placed on horseback behind one
of the troopers, his feet tied together below the horse's
belly with a straw rope. The night was dark and the
track extremely rough. With the violent motions of
the horse in leaping the ditches, the rope broke and
Andrew's feet were free. Immediately afterwards, the
horse fell, and the two riders were thrown to the
ground, but the darkness prevented the others, who
were in advance, from seeing what had happened, and
Andrew made good his escape. He then found a
retreat near Fingland.

He attended a conventicle held by Mr. Eenwick,
and as it was dispersing, the troopers arrived on the
scene. Andrew fled, but was fired at and wounded in
the arm. He managed to escape, and found a hiding
place in the moss. Shortly afterwards, a flock of sheep
losing their way in the mist came near him, followed
by two shepherds, to whom he made known his
situation, and they gave him every assistance. He
had several narrow escapes after this, and at the time
of the Revolution he was hiding in the house of a
shepherd named Ker, who was himself a Covenanter.
When peace was restored, he returned to Kirkcowan,

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 23 24 25 26 27 28

Online LibraryAlexander S MortonGalloway and the Covenanters; or, The struggle for religious liberty in the south-west of Scotland → online text (page 21 of 28)