The Justiciary Circuit Courts, 1684. Glasgow.
Treatment of the heritors of Lochwinnoch

 [Extract from The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution. Robert Wodrow, Ed R Burns. Glasgow, Blackie & Son, (1835) Volume 4, p 134-136. ]

             Nothing can be more extensive than this bond of regularity, and it reached farther than any paper of this nature I have seen, and effectually secured the payment of the cess, and the carrying on the persecution in this shire, the two great things the lords had in view. Whether such bonds were signed in the other districts, I know not, but it is not improbable that the same method was followed through them all.

            I should now come forward to the parti­cular instances of their severity at Glasgow; their chief work was among the heritors in Renfrew and Lanark, and good numbers of them by no means could be brought up to take the test, and their treatment of them will come in upon the succeeding section, so that my work will very much shorten here. The persons delated by the curates and their elders, as we have heard, in every parish within this district, were called, and such heritors who refused the test, and others who declined taking the bond of regularity, were imprisoned. Instances in every parish could be given, but they would be endless; and therefore I shall point but at a hint or two in every shire.

            In Lanarkshire, from the parish of Evandale, I find about thirty six of the common sort imprisoned at Glasgow for refusing the test and bond, which by no law they were obliged to take. Their names before me would take up too much room; and this besides the four gentlemen from that place, imprisoned with the others who fall in next section, Netherfield, Overton, Browncastle, and Bannantyne of Craigmuir. Most part of the common people continued in prison at Glasgow and other place, upwards of half a year, and many of them were sent to Du­notter, Blackness, and other places. From the pariah of the two fore mentioned gentlemen, Allanton and Hartwood, with good numbers of the common sort, appeared before this oourt. The gen­tlemen refusing the test were remitted to Edinburgh, and had their share, with the rest to be mentioned, of sixteen months' im­prisonment, to the great hazard of their health, and prejudice to their estates. Their rest were all arrested, as was done, I think, unto all the gentlemen in prison, by which their families were reduced to straits great enough. William Daiziel of West Redmire, in the same parish, upon his refusing the test, was made close prisoner in Glasgow tolbooth, and, through the hardships he underwent there, in a little time he died. No moyen could prevail to get him out of prison during his illness; and when dead, it was with great difficulty that his friends were allowed to carry his body to the se­pulchres of his fathers in Cambusnethan church-yard. Informations before me bear, that two hundred of the smaller heritors, belonging to the district of Glasgow, were, for refusing the test and bond, banished to the plantations. The greater heritors were remitted to Edinburgh, and, as we shall hear, received indictments as to converse, reset, and relieving the sufferers., and church dis­orders: all which were referred to their oath for probation; and they fined above the value of their estate. I find, that the rude sol­diers haled several sick and weakly women into Glasgow at this time, for their not hearing of conformists, some whereof died in a few days after they were put in prison, such as Agnes Livingstone in Kippen parish.

             I shall end this account of the treatment of suffering presbyterians at this time, with an attested narrative of some very honest people in the parish of Lochwinnoch, who were banished by the lords, and most barbarously treated after sentence, much in the words of the sufferers, some of whom are yet alive attesting this. They observe, that a little before the lords came to Glasgow, a Sabbath or two, John Marshall sheriff-officer, made intimation at the church-door of Lochwinnoch, that all heritors, how meansoever, should compear before the lords. The per­sons underwritten and others, accordingly went into Glasgow, and waited several days before they were celled; and yet some of the company were so poor, that they had scarce whereon to sustain themselves.

            At length they were called, and, as they answered to their names, the teat and bond of regulation was put to them, and the oath of allegiance with the supremacy inter­mixed with it. Upon their refusal to swear, and to sign, they were cast into prison, where they lay twenty days. The throng was so great, that they could not lie down upon the floor all at once, but did this by turns. They were a second time called before the lords, who passed a sentence of banishment on them to the plantations. This, they say, they were very glad of, for they choosed banishment rather than an appearance before the lords, where they knew the escaping of one word would hazard their lives.

            And, November 1st, Robert Orr of Millbank, James Allan portioner of Kerse, John Orr of Jamphreystock, James Ramsay portioner of Auchinhane, John Orr of Hills, Robert Sempill of Balgreen, William Orr portioner of Keam, and Robert Blackburn of' Landiestone, these belonging to Lochwinnoch, and all of them heritors, were carried in hard frost and snow to Stirling on foot, with about forty other prisoners. There, though very weary, and without any refreshment, they were forced into three low vaults, some steps under ground, without fire or light, or any thing to lie on, and no place to ease nature in, but the corners of the vault.. Indeed they met with no small kindness from some good people in the town, who brought in straw to them to lie on, and coals for fire, and some sent meal and money to them, which was a great relief. They were made to believe, that very soon they were to be sent off to the plantations, and accordingly they sent to their friend, in the west for some money to take with them, which was sent as far as could be done in a short warning. Whether this was a trick of the soldiers, that they might finger any little money they could get, I know not; but no sooner did it come up to them, but a serjeant, named John Downie, in Bell's company in Marr's regiment, by order, as he said, from the earl, came to the prison with a party of soldiers, with kindled matches.The town.officers who kept the keys were caused open the doors, and the serjeant with the soldiers went in and searched them, and took all their money from them; from Robert Blackburn, thirty seven pounds, Robert Sempill as much, Robert Orr fifty merks, James Ramsey eighteen pounds, John Orr three ducatoons, John Orr in Hill, eleven full dollars. It is not minded what was taken from the rest of the prisoners. When the soldiers were robbing them of their money, the prisoners earnestly begged they might leave them some small part of it for their present maintenance, and accordingly some little was given beck to each, and the soldiers left them, but came back within half an hour, and took it again; and though they should have starved would not allow them to keep one farthing.

            They remained in Stirling till May, when they were taken out, and tied two and two with cords, and sent into the Canongate, where they lay some tine, and some of them were sent to Dunotter, where we shall afterward hear of their, hardships; and all this they with multitudes of others endured, merely because they refused the test and bond, which by no law could be forced upon them. This may suffice for giving some view of those council and justiciary circuit-courts, in October this year (1684).

18/07/2011

Home Scottish Reformation The Covenanters Ulster Scots English Reformation European Reformation General Topics & Glossary My Books & Bibliography Contact