Last of the Westland Whigs

In the late 17th century, the 'Westland Whigs' were the radical descendants of earlier Covenanters who had defied the absolutist rule of Stuart kings in south west Scotland.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Galloway Levellers 2nd January edit

This is unfinished, struggling with the conclusion.

Religious and Political Background to the Events of 1724 [Jan 09]

The following section of this dissertation is potentially the most complex and confusing. For example, whilst it is possible to look back from 1724 and recognise that the National Covenant of 1638 had an important influence on the Galloway Levellers uprising, it is not possible to look forward from 1638 and anticipate the events of 1724. Likewise, the description 'Jacobite' cannot be used until after 1688, yet from the perspective of 1715, the local Jacobites had a 'proto-Jacobite' lineage in Stuart loyalists of the period 1638-1688. Further confusion is added when religious affiliations are considered.

According to a piece of local religious folklore, Galloway was the cradle not only of Christianity in Scotland (St. Ninian's Whithorn) but also of the Reformation in Scotland. The claim was that soon after 1520 Alexander Gordon of Airds (Kells parish) had acquired, from English followers of John Wycliffe (died 1384), a copy of the Bible translated into English. Gordon gave readings from this Bible at secret meetings (proto-conventicles) in the woods of Airds. The secrecy was necessary since “the law at that time [1525] regarded the possession of the sacred volume as a high crime and misdemeanour”. Inspired by Gordon's readings of the 'sacred volume', Reformation principles soon spread through the Glenkens and beyond, even before the martyrdom of Patrick Hamilton at St. Andrews in 1528. “Thus Galloway may be considered the cradle of the infant Reformation in Scotland”. 1

Although recounted as authentically part of Galloway's history as recently as 2000 2 the above account of Alexander Gordon's Glenkens Reformation was written up by McKenzie on the basis of a footnote to Murray's 1827 edition of Samuel Rutherford's The Last and Heavenly Speeches and Glorious Departure of John Gordon, Viscount Kenmuir (first published 1649 3). Murray's source in turn is an unreferenced quotation from the works of Robert Wodrow (1679- 1734). Since Wodrow visited Galloway whilst researching The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution (published 1721 -1722), Wodrow's source is likely to have been the family history of the Gordons of Earlston who were descended from Alexander Gordon of Airds and had been active Covenanters in the seventeenth century and anti-Jacobites as recently as 1715.4 Even if Alexander Gordon really had an English translation of the Bible in the 1520s, the Reformation in Galloway is more likely to have been driven by political rather than purely religious influences. Briefly put, after Henry VIII's break with Rome in 1534, promoting Protestantism in Scotland as a way to drive a wedge between the Scots and their 'auld allies', the Roman Catholic French, became English policy. After the disastrous battle of Solway Moss in 1542, the English took 1200 Scots prisoners.

The Solway Moss prisoners had been thrown into company in England which confirmed their Protestant leanings. Cassillis had lived chiefly with Cranmer and Latimer and Garlies with followers of Wycliffe. Thus it came about [in 1543] that a motion was made by Lord Maxwell, a Catholic, that the Bible should be allowed to be read in the vulgar tongue. This was bitterly opposed by Archbishop Dunbar, a native of Galloway.5

'Cassillis' was Gilbert Kennedy, the 3rd Earl of Cassillis in Ayrshire. 'Garlies' was Alexander Stewart of Garlies (Stewartry of Kirkcudbright) who was exchanged as a hostage for his father, who had been captured at Solway Moss. Alexander Stewart subsequently became “foremost among the reformist lairds of Galloway”6 and forbear to the Earls of Galloway. 'Archbishop Dunbar' was the brother of Archibald Dunbar who becam the first Dunbar of Baldoon in 1533 (see above). In the seventeenth century, Sir David Dunbar and his son David were both Episcopalian supporters of the Stuarts. In 1715 Sir David Dunbar's great-grandson Basil Hamilton was a Jacobite. The 'Lord Maxwell' referred to was Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Nithsdale, who had also been captured at Solway Moss. Despite Robert Maxwell's flirtation with Protestantism in 1543, the Maxwells of Nithsdale remained loyal to the Roman Catholic faith. (Robert's brother John was abbot of Dundrennan Abbey 1524-1526) Even after William Maxwell, 5th Earl of Nithsdale fled to France in 1716 to avoid execution for his part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, masses continued to be said at Terregles House (Stewarty of Kirkcudbright) and at Munches in Buittle parish, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. A Roman Catholic chapel at Munches until 1814, when services were transferred to a Roman Catholic chapel built in the new town of Dalbeattie nearby.7

In the absence of any studies of Roman Catholicism in Dumfries and Galloway it is difficult to establish the extent of this survival. A strong possibility is that the close connection between the Maxwell of Nithsdale family and the abbeys of Dundrennan and New Abbey (Sweetheart Abbey) and Lincluden Collegiate Church was a significant factor in this survival.

As an example, the last abbot (1565- 1598) of Dundrennan Abbey was Edward Maxwell who was a grandson of Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Nithsdale. Edward was the third son of John Maxwell, Lord Herries and brother to Robert Maxwell of Spottes (the first Maxwell of Orchardton). The bulk of Dundrennan's lands passed to members of the Maxwell family, especially Robert Maxwell of Spottes and Orchardton. The Maxwells of Orchardton continued to be Roman Catholics until the mid eighteenth century. The Neilsons of Barncallie followed a similar pattern.In May 1588, Edward Maxwell confirmed that Gilbert Neilson held Barncaillie (Kirkpatrick Durham parish) in feu-ferm from Dundrennan as heir to William Neilson. In 1545, William Neilson had been infefted in Barncailllie as heir to his father who had been granted the farm in 1527.8 The Neilson family retained Barncaillie until 1749. They also persisted in their adherence to the Roman Catholic faith. In 1705 “after frequent citations and provocations, Robert Neilson [of Barncaillie] was solemnly excommunicated by The Presbytery of Dumfries, but in 1710, not withstanding that sentence, Mr. Neilson and his family were still denounced as “popish”.9 In 1724, in what seems to have been an 'unauthorised' anti- Catholic action (see below) the dykes of Barncallie were levelled.

Lincluden Collegiate Church held lands in Crossmichael and Troqueer parishes (Stewartry of Kirkcudbright). Here the Maxwells had less influence and the Crossmichael lands passed to Robert Gordon of Lochinvar and then, in 1621, to the Gordons of Lochinvar. The Troqueer lands passed to John Murray of Lochmaben,before being bought, as the Barony of Drumsleet, by Robert Maxwell 1st Earl of Nithsdale. These lands were still (despite forfeiture in 1716) being managed for the Maxwells of Nithsdale in 1722, when the most important feuar was Sir Robert Grierson of Lag.10

At Sweetheart Abbey, under the protection of the Maxwells, Roman Catholic worship survived until 1608 under the direction of Gilbert Broun, the last abbot.

Even after he [Gilbert] was forced from office for allegedly 'enticing his people to papistry', he stayed in the district 'saying Masses, baptising sundry bairns and preaching the Catholic religion'...even as late as 1608 there was 'a daylie and frequent resort of people unto him...' When the king's guard attempted to arrest him, they were beaten off by 'a great number of rude and ignorant people of the New Abbay who armed themselves with staves, muskets and hagbuts....'. 11

Under Gilbert Broun and his predecessor, John Broun (his uncle), the abbey's lands in New Abbey parish were first leased out and the feued to Broun family members. The abbey's lands in Kirpatrick Durham parish passed to the Maxwells. These lands included the farm of Arkland, which, along with Netherbar, Overbar, Drumhumpry and Auchinhay belonged to John Maxwell, son of John Maxwell of Munches in 1604.12 This branch of the Maxwell family were descended from an illegitimate son of Robert Maxwell, 5th Lord Nithsdale. In December 1694, James, son of John Maxwell of Arkland married Margaret, daughter of Robert Neilson of Barncaillie. Their son Robert Maxwell of Arkland helped found the Honourable Society of Improvers in the Knowledge of Agriculture in 1723. Although Robert Maxwell's religion is not known, like his nephew John Maxwell of Terraughtie and Munches (who was also an advocate of agricultural improvement) he was a product of Galloway's Roman Catholic community.

How numerous this community was is difficult to establish. Between 1665 and 1670, the Episcopalian Synod of Galloway (of which Andrew Symson was a leading member)discussed the problem of illegal conventicles six times but discussed the problem of 'papists' ten times. At a meeting of the Synod in Kirkcudbright in April 1669, it was reported that the number of Roman Catholics in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright was increasing.

The Presbytery of Kirkcudbright being interrogate anent the Papists reported that anent the conferring with them, it was impossible there being so great a multitude of them, and that their number was greatly increased within this twelve month... the Bishop and Synod do recommend with all earnestness to the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright to … take tryal anent such as are suspected of Popery conveening them before them and offering them conference for their reclaiming.13

In 1704, William Tod, minister of Buittle compiled a list of 70 Roman Catholics resident in the parish.14 Extrapolating from Adamson,15 if the population of Buittle was 500 in 1704, then 14% of the population were Roman Catholic. However Buittle, home to Maxwells of Munches was probably exceptional. In 1666, 60% of the 'Papists' noted by the Synod of Galloway lived in Buittle. The only other parish likely to have had similarly high proportion of Roman Catholics would have been Terregles, home to the Maxwells of Nithsdale. Both families supported the Jacobites in 1715.

Whilst the Synod of Galloway may have seemed more concerned by the persistence of Roman Catholicism in seventeenth century Galloway, in reality the struggle between Episcopalianism and Presbyterianism was the overriding conflict. Between 1638 and 1660, the Presbyterians had the upper hand. Between 1660 and 1688, power shifted to the Episcopalians. After 1688, a 'moderate' form of Presbyterianism became the established religion of Scotland. In 1706, fears for the future of Presbyterianism briefly threatened the proposed union of Scottish and English parliaments, but after these fears were assuaged, mainstream Presbyterians accepted both the Union and the Hanoverian succession to the British crown. Thus in the autumn of 1715, when the Jacobites, who threatened to turn the clock back to 1688, advanced on Dumfries, volunteers from across Dumfries and Galloway flocked to defend the town.

Most of these volunteers had been recruited by landowners who had benefited from the Revolution Settlement of 1689 and they were supported by parish ministers who had likewise benefited from William of Orange's “Glorious Revolution”. Significantly, it was in the town of Dumfries rather than amongst the moors and hill of Galloway and Nithsdale that the regional version of this revolution was first played out. On 17 February 1688, James Renwick of Moniaive was executed in Edinburgh. Renwick's death left the surviving adherents to the Covenants of 1638 and 1643 - the United Societies or Cameronians – leaderless. Even before Renwick's death, they had been reduced, in the words of James Renwick and Andrew Shields 1687 Informatory Vindication to a “Poor, wasted, misrepresented, Remnant of the Suffering, Anti-Popish, Anti-Prelatick, Anti-Erastian, Anti-Sectarian, True Presbyterian Church”.16

More influential than Renwick's death was the birth of a son to James VII/II in June 1688. The fear that James might establish a Catholic dynasty led to the unopposed landing of William of Orange's invasion fleet at Torbay in Devon on 5 November 1688. Although at first James hoped his army would defeat William's he soon realised this hope was futile. James then decided to flee to France. His first attempt failed, but on 23 December 1688 he succeeded. The national collapse of James' regime was swiftly followed at local level. Indeed, even before William of Orange had landed, Dumfries' provost had vanished from the scene. This provost, John Maxwell of Barncleuch, was a relative of Robert Maxwell, 4th Earl of Nithsdale, and like Robert Maxwell, John Maxwell was a Roman Catholic. John Maxwell had been directly appointed as provost of Dumfries by James in December 1686.17 On 26 December 1688, having received official confirmation of regime change by way of a letter from William of Orange's Privy Council, Dumfries town council elected William Craik of Duchrae and Arbigland as provost. On 6 January 1689, Provost Craik and his fellow councillors declared William king. This declaration being somewhat premature, since William did not officially become king of England and Ireland until 11 February 1689 and did not become king of Scotland until 11 April 1689, the actual proclamation at Dumfries' Merkat Cross was delayed until 24 April 1689.18

Thus an armed struggle, which in Dumfries and Galloway had begun in 1640 with the sieges of Caerlaverock and Threave castles, held by the Maxwells of Nithsdale for Charles I against the Covenanters, was peacefully voted to an end by Dumfries town council in December 1688. Even the subsequent “rabbling of the curates”, when Episcopalian minsters across Dumfries and Galloway were evicted from their parishes did not result in any personal violence or fatalities.

John Gordon, Bishop of Galloway now retired into France, and the first meeting of the Presbyterian clergymen within the bounds of the Synod of Galloway, took place at Minnigaff, on the 14th of May 1689. Few of the ministers who had possessed parochial charges before the Restoration were present; but a number of preachers from Ireland attended the meeting, who afterwards received appointments to vacant parishes. 19

Whilst the south-west may have peacefully accepted the new order, with Sir Robert Grierson of Lag managing “in spite of his past misdeeds to gain favour from the Revolution Government”20, Lag's former colleague, John Graham of Claverhouse, was not so peacefully inclined. The Highland Jacobite force he raised was victorious at Killiecrankie in July 1689, although Claverhouse died in the battle. At Dunkeld, the Jacobites came into conflict with a regiment raised from the Cameronians of Douglasdale in Lanarkshire. In a ferocious fight, the Jacobites were defeated and forced to withdraw.

As well as marking the first serious defeat for the Jacobites, the Battle of Dunkeld is notable in one other regard: it was the last fight of the Covenanter Wars. In June 1690 Parliament passed an act establishing the Presbyterian system of church government, with the Westminster Confession as the basis of its doctrine. All the minister ejected since 1661 were restored to their former charges, and a General Assembly was called, the first since 1653.21

Amongst those who fought at Killiecrankie were four from Galloway. Claverhouse' ssecond-in-command at Killiecrankie was Major General Alexander Cannon. After Claverhouse' s death he led the Jacobites forces. Amongst the anti-Jacobites were Alexander Gordon, 5th Viscount Kenmure (whose son was a Jacobite in 1715), Alexander Fergusson of Craigdarroch (who was killed) and William Maxwell. William Maxwell was to a play a central role in the events of 1724. To understand his responses to the Galloway Levellers, awareness of his personal background is necessary. The following account is based on a biographical sketch provided by Reid.22

Colonel William Maxwell “One of King William's Men”
William Maxwell was born in 1663, three weeks after the death of his father. His father, William Maxwell was a member of the Maxwell of Calderwood, had been minister of Minnigaff parish in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright from 1638 to 1662. In 1638, “Mr William Maxwell, minister at Minigoff” was first to sign a copy of the National Covenant circulated in Minnigaff parish.23 Unwilling to accept the restoration of Episcopacy, he was forced to give up his position as parish minister. William Maxwell's mother was Elizabeth Murdoch of Cumloden in Minnigaff parish. The Thomas Murdoch who had several dykes levelled in 1724 was William Maxwell's cousin. In April 1665 Elizabeth Murdoch and Patrick Peacock (described as tacksmen) set the hill farm of Roundfell (Kirmabreck parish) in tack to Andrew Reid 'the present herd there', requiring him to 'mark and burn every beast' grazing on the Roundfell.24 This is an interesting tack, since Patrick Peacock was the former minister of Kirkmabreck. He was also forced out of his parish in 1662 and took refuge in Ireland. He returned to Kirkmabreck in May 1689 and served as minister there until his death in 1695.25 Presumably this tack was a way to provide income for Patrick Peacock and Elizabeth Murdoch. It was witnessed by Patrick Heron of Kirroughtrie who had signed the Minnigaff Covenant in 1638.

Elizabeth hoped that her son would also become a minister and moved with him to Glasgow where he was educated at Glasgow High School and then Glasgow University. After graduating he moved to Edinburgh. According to his diary, which is usually more of a record of his spiritual than physical life, on 30 June 1685:

This day spent with much grief, not wanting reason when the people of God has been trysted with so great a loss this day as the sufferings of Archibald earl of Argyll (to which I was a witness, being with him all the time on the scaffold, there after accompanying his corpse to the Madline cheapald )[Magdalen Chapel]...26

Unlike his Cameronian contemporary, John McMillan (1669- 1747), who was able to study for the ministry of a Presbyterian church in 1695, the Scottish church of 1685 was firmly Episcopalian. Therefore in early 1686, after much prayer and soul-searching, William Maxwell decided to train as a doctor in Edinburgh rather than a minister. Reid believes the 'eminent teacher' Maxwell studied under and boarded with was Professor Robert Sibbald. In September 1686 he attended a conventicle and on 23 January 1687 he was arrested and imprisoned in Edinburgh Tolbooth where he was held until March. Deciding it would be safer to complete his studies abroad, he arrived at Leyden in Holland on 28 December 1687. Here he joined the Scottish Presbyterian community in exile and attended services led by William Carstairs, a close ally of William of Orange. On at least one occasion (March 18th 1688) he met James Dalrymple, Lord Stair. By September 1688, Maxwell seems to have decided, or been persuaded, to join the army being assembled by William of Orange. There is then a gap in the diary entries between 17th October 1688, when Maxwell was preparing to board one of the invasion ships, and 27th May 1691.

During this period, William Maxwell fought for William of Orange at the battles of Killiecrankie and the Boyne ( where he was promoted to Captain in the field). He then served in Europe, rising through the ranks to the position of colonel. In 1696 he married Nicolas Stewart, daughter of William Stewart who was a son of the James Stewart, 2nd earl of Galloway. Nicolas was heiress to the estate of Cardoness, Anwoth parish, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. In 1702, Maxwell was elected to represent the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in the Scottish Parliament. Maxwell opposed the Union of 1707 in this parliament, for which he was briefly stripped of his commission.

Whatever reservations Colonel Maxwell may have had about the Union of 1707, when rumours of a Jacobite threat surfaced in 1714, Maxwell took the led in organising a south-west Scotland anti-Jacobite alliance. The first meeting of this alliance took place at Dalmellington in 13 March 1714. At this meeting Colonel Maxwell, along with Thomas Gordon of Earlston ( whose Covenanter father Alexander had fought at Bothwell Brig) and Alexander Fergusson of Craigdarroch (whose father had died fighting against Claverhouse at Killiecrankie), passed resolutions

to the effect that a general correspondence be entered into among the well- affected nobility, gentry, and citizens “within the shires of Clydesdale, Renfrew, Ayr, Galloway, Nithsdale, and the Stewartries and bailiaries thereof;” that meetings be held in each of these districts, for furtherance of the common object; that each district shall be invited to send representatives to general quarterly meetings, the first of which was fixed to be held at Dalmellington; that intercourse by letter or otherwise be kept up with their friends in Great Britain and Ireland; and that “it be earnestly recommended to each of the said particular meetings to fall upon such prudent and expeditious methods to put their people in a defensive posture, in such a manner as they shall see most proper and conform to law.”27

Mackenzie adds that “these various gentlemen, well affected to a Protestant Government... raised considerable sums of money; and; having provided arms and ammunition, they took care to see the people instructed in military exercises. Many peoples in both districts [Galloway and Nithsdale] assembled regularly to accustom themselves to the use firearms under the specious pretence of shooting for a prize.”.28 The fear that local Jacobites were organising was heightened on 29 May 1714 (the anniversary of the Charles II Restoration) when, under the cover of attending a horse race at Lochmaben in Annandale, there was a gathering of 'Jacobite and 'Popish gentlemen' who proceeded to Lochmaben's Market Cross where they drank the health of king James VIII.29 The training and arming of anti-Jacobite volunteers seems to have continued into 1715. According to Rae, a Major Aikman visited Dumfries and Galloway in August 1715 to review assemblies of these volunteers and make arrangements for their deployment in the event of the Jacobites landing at Kirkcudbright or Loch Ryan. However Rae's version of events conflicts with Szechi's findings that 'Associations' for the defence and support of George I were formed in late July 1715. These 'armed zealots' so alarmed George and his ministers that they instructed Adam Cockburn, the Lord Justice Clerk, to 'take the most prudent and discreet method for preventing the country's proceeding any further in that matter of association and levying of troops'.30

Returning to Colonel Maxwell, on 2 October 1715 he was appointed Governor of Glasgow and set about organising the defences of the city. On 12th March 1716 the Town Council of Glasgow presented Maxwell with a service of silver plate to the value of £35 1s 8d “as a mark of the town's favour and respect towards him for his good service in taking upon him the regulation and management of all the Guards that were kept in the city, quhich, during the rebellion and confusion were judged necessary to be kept for the security thairof...” 31 By 1724, 'king William's man' Colonel William Maxwell was a leading member of the Hanoverian establishment of Galloway.

John Hepburn of Urr (?1649 -1723) 32
If Colonel Maxwell upheld and represented the established order of early eighteenth century Galloway, John Hepburn and his followers (the Hebronites) were representatives of Galloway's disruptive and anti-establishment traditions. Hepburn was the son of a Morayshire farmer. He graduated from Aberdeen University in 1669. Initially an Episcopalian, in 1678 he was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in London. In 1683, along with William Carstares (close ally of William of Orange), Hepburn was accused of complicity in the Rye House Plot to assassinate Charles II and despatched to Edinburgh for trial. In Edinburgh, an unsuccessful attempt was made to link Hepburn and Carstares with Alexander Gordon of Earlston, a Galloway Covenanter who had fought at Bothwell Brig and who had been captured whilst attempting to flee to Holland. This attempt to construct a conspiracy connecting conventiclers with Rye House plotters failed and Hepburn was freed. Hepburn had already (1680) begun preaching in the parish of Urr in Galloway and now he returned there. In May 1684, the Scottish Privy Council declared him 'fugitive' for preaching at conventicles. Since Hepburn continued to preach in Urr despite “the remarkable severity of the measures taken by Claverhouse and the numerous executions or martyrdoms in Galloway in 1685 it is somewhat of a mystery that Hepburn should have remained seemingly unmolested.” 33

After suggesting that Hepburn's 'diplomatic ways' may have afforded a degree of immunity from persecution, Reid adds the testimony of Robert Smith (1666 -1724)

Of Mr. Hepburn, I say, if he had been as clear, tender and distinct the cause and testimony as he was said to be tender in his walk, the Lord might have honoured him. But because he ay joucked [dodged] to the leeside in persecution, and out of persecution and pushed at the more tender and straight in the testimony, with head and shoulder - I fear his name may not be honoured among Scotland's worthies.34

However, Robert Smith testimony continues “I was necessitate to withdraw from that gospel preached by Mr. John M'Millan, which if it had been right, as some time I had it under the beloved Mr. James Renwick, I would have been very loath to have done.” If Smith considered that even McMillan had fallen by the wayside, he is unlikely to have had any respect for Hepburn.
In 1690 and again in 1693, Hepburn and his followers presented a 'Memorial of Grievance' to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland which complained that no action had been taken against ministers and others who were guilty of 'sinful compliance with the late regime', that the Covenants had not been renewed, that some Episcopalian curates remained in post and that many 'malignants' retained office in Church and State. This led the General Assembly to suspended him in 1696. In the same year, he was summoned to appear before the Privy Council, since Lord Advocate Sir James Stewart believed there was 'treason' in the Memorial and as a result Hepburn found himself once more a prisoner in Edinburgh's Tolbooth. Restored to Urr in 1699, he was suspended again in 1705, but this time refused to quit the parish. In 1707 he was re-instated as minister of Urr and remained a minister of the Established kirk until his death in 1723.

When not engaged in religious disputations, Hepburn actively intervened in the political affairs of the time. The most well known35 of these interventions occurred on 20 November 1706 when Hepburn gathered together a group of his followers and occupied the centre of Dumfries. Here they lit a fire and burnt copies of the Articles of Union at the Mercat Cross, followed by a list of the names of the Commissioners. As this list was consigned to the flames, Hepburn is alleged to have cried out “thus may all traitors perish”. Finally, echoing the actions of Richard Cameron and his followers who fixed a copy of their Declaration to mercat cross of Sanquhar on 22 June in 1680, “An Account of the Burning of the Article of Union at Dumfries “ was attached to Dumfries Mercat Cross. Hepburn had thoughtfully had several copies of this document printed up beforehand. This prepared statement itself contains an 'eyewitness' account of the event.

This was publickly read from the Mercat Cross of Dumfries about one of the clock in the afternoon,the 20th day of November, 1706, with great solemnity, in the audience of many thousands; the fire being surrounded with double squadrons of Foot and Horse in martial order: And after the Burning of the said Books (which were holden up Burning on the point of a Pike, to the view of all the people, giving their consent by Hussa's and Cheerful acclimations). A Coppy herof was left affixed on the cross, as a Testimony of the South part of this nation against the proposed Union, as Moulded in the printed Articles therof. This we desire to be printed and kept in record ad futuram rei memorium.36

At the time it was rumoured that opposition to the Union was going to unite Jacobites and 'Cameronians', including “a sectarian splinter known as the Hebronites led by John Hebron, minister of Urr who even became implicated in Jacobite plotting by 1706”.37 In his account, Stephen sources these rumours to two Jacobites -John Ker of Kersland and George Lockhart of Carnwath. After demolishing Ker's claim to have been with Hepburn in Dumfries on 20 November 1706, Stephen continues on, effectively demolishing the alleged conspiracy.38 The fear that Hepburn and the Hebronites might support the Jacobites surfaced again in 1715 and is discussed below. Even after his death (20 March 1723), Hepburn's influence continued. In 1724, Colonel William Maxwell of Cardoness informed Robert Wodrow that “many of the Dyke Levellers were Hebronites”.39

Before moving on to discuss the impact of the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 on Dumfries and Galloway, the eventful life of one of William Maxwell and John Hepburn's contemporaries must be explored.

John McMillan (?1669 -1747) – the Standard Bearer40
Amongst William Maxwell's parishioners who signed the Minnigaff copy of the National Covenant in 1638 were 27 members of the McMillan family. Amongst these signatories would have been the father of John McMillan, who was born in 1669 at Barncaughla farm in Minnigaff parish. His family were members of the United Societies, followers of Richard Cameron who was killed at Airds Moss in Ayrshire in 1680. After working as a hill-farmer in the neighbouring parish of Kells, in 1695, aged 26 McMillan became a mature student at Edinburgh University, graduating in 1697.

McMillan now took a step which he afterwards regretted keenly, although he maintained that his motives were pure. He “broke off” from his Society [Cameronian] connections in Kells or Minnigaff, as well as at college, and began to attend the parish church...He had decided to give the Established Church a trial. There alone he could obtain the needful training and license to preach. In the Societies there was no hope of either, for they now held a strictly negative attitude, training no ministers, and simply waiting on events.41

McMillan then studied to become a minister of the Established Church of Scotland. Completing his studies in 1700, he became chaplain to John Murray of Cally (and Broughton, Wigtownshire) in Girthon parish in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. In September 1701 John McMillan was chosen to become minister of Balmaghie parish, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. McMillan remained at Balmaghie until May 1727. McMillan continued to occupy the manse and church of Balmaghie, but from 1704 he did so illegally, having been expelled from the established Church of Scotland in December 1703. McMillan did not quit Balmaghie until 1727, when he moved to Eastshields in the Lanarkshire parish of Carnwath, having accepted an offer to become minister to the United Societies (Cameronians). In 1743, McMillan was joined by another minister, Thomas Nairn and together they founded the Reformed Presbyterian Church. McMillan died in 1747.

The trigger for McMillan's revolt seems to have been the death of William of Orange in March 1702. Following William's death, McMillan was required to swear an oath of allegiance to queen Anne who was believed to be biased towards the Episcopalians. 42The subsequent and complex theological disagreements which led to McMillan's break with the established church are documented in a fifty page appendix to Reid's 1898 biography of McMillan. The practical nub of these disputes was the failure of post-1689 re-established Presbyterian Church of Scotland to renew the Covenants of 1638 (the National Covenant) and 1643 (the Solemn League and Covenant). For his fellow ministers in the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright, including Richard Cameron's brother Andrew, the renewal of the Covenants was a divisive distraction from the moderate Prebysterianism advocated on William of Orange's behalf by William Carstares. If the Church of Scotland tried to renew the Covenants, the national outcome would be a revival of the religious and political conflict of the seventeenth century.

For McMillan, such political and secular considerations were irrelevant. A deeply religious man, he worked with the United Societies towards a renewal of the Covenants. This was achieved between 26 and 28 July 1712 at Auchensaugh Hill near Douglas in south Lanarkshire, when over 1000 Cameronians attended. MacMillan formally debarred both Queen Anne and members of the newly formed United Kingdom parliament from participation. McMillan's return to the fold of the 'suffering remnant' had followed on from his expulsion from the established church. After initially seeking an alliance with John Hepburn of Urr,43 in April 1704 a general meeting of the United Societies at Crawfordjohn favourably considered a letter from McMillan desiring a conference with its members. Negotiations were protracted, but in October 1706 he was asked to become minister to 'the United Societies and General Correspondences of the Suffering Remnant of the true Presbyterian Church of Christ in Scotland, England and Ireland' as the Cameronians still described themselves.44

With the support of the United Societies, McMillan's position in Balmaghie was strengthened. Having expelled McMillan, the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright assumed he would quit Balmaghie. But he did not. With support of the overwhelming majority of his parishioners, McMillan refused to leave. Several attempts were then made to forcibly remove him. For example, in August 1708, the heritors of the 16 parishes in the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright (including Colonel William Maxwell and Patrick Heron for Balmaghie) were summoned to meet at Carlingwark (now Castle Douglas). This force of about 100 then proceeded to Balmaghie in an attempt to evict McMillan. Opposed by an even larger group of men (armed with swords and pistols) and women posted around the church, the heritors had to withdraw.

That which overawed and discomfited the authorities, ecclesiastical and civil, was the fact that all over Galloway, and in Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire, there were bodies of men prepared to act on the old Cameronian lines, by making, if necessary, armed demonstrations against McMillan's ejection. This is no mere conjecture, startling as the statement may seem. In the Societies' minute at Crawfordjohn May 3, 1708, there is an entry which has a significant air in this connection: “Concluded that each man capable in our Societies provide arms sufficient and have them always in good case, with ammunition conformable; and that each correspondence supply those that are not able to furnish themselves. And likewise that some be appointed in each correspondence to sight the arms and ammunition and the foresaids to be kept private till further allowance and necessity.”45

What makes McMillan's struggle so significant is that his opponents were not former Episcopalians (although from 1690 onwards an 'Episcopal Society' met in Sir Robert Grierson of Lag's house in Dumfries46) but former allies like William Boyd, minister of Dalry. Boyd had been a member of the United Societies. During the Episcopalian supremacy the United Societies arranged for him to be sent to Holland (along with Alexander Shields, Thomas Lining and James Renwick) to train as a minister. Boyd was befriended by William of Orange and was with William when he landed at Torbay in 1688. Instead, McMillan's opponents were converts to the moderate Presbyterianism advocated by William Carstares “Principal of Edinburgh University, meddler par excellence in affairs of kirk and state and political fixer of Scottish administrations for William of Orange.”47
For his opponents, it was McMillan's inability to move beyond the martyrology and theology of the 'Killing Times' that was the problem. As Reid points out, although Andrew Cameron was the best educated and most effective member of the Presbytery, in his responses (on behalf of the Presbytery of Kirkcudbright) to McMillan's 'Grievances', Cameron struggled to make headway against McMillan's dense theological arguments. The Oath of Allegiance to Queen Anne and the failure of the restored and established Church of Scotland to renew the Covenants were part of a political rather than religious process. In the political background to the dispute between McMillan and Cameron in 1704/5 were a very real Jacobite threat to the recent revolution, the preliminary negotiations which led to the Union of Parliaments and the War of Spanish Succession (1701 – 1714). Once McMillan began negotiating with the surviving remnant of the followers of Andrew Cameron's brother Richard, the political aspects of their religious dispute could not be ignored.

Although much reduced in numbers (e.g. by the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689) from their heyday in 1683, when Reid reports a claim by William Gordon of Earlston that the United Societies could muster 7000 armed men, they still represented a potential military threat to the status quo. It is perhaps fortunate then that John McMillan was so deeply religious, leading his people to the possession of a spiritual rather than physical kingdom. Initial preparations for the renewal of the Covenants on Auchensaugh Moor in July 1712 advised that “all have their arms in readiness” but Reid suggests that “probably McMillan received some private assurances of protection and immunity”48 and was thus able to persuade the Suffering Remnant to assemble unarmed. Although the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 led to a brief resurgence of armed readiness, under McMillan's guidance, the Suffering Remnants' swords and guns were henceforth, if not beaten into ploughshares, at least allowed to gather rust.

On a final note, although there had been negotiations between John McMillan and John Hepburn concerning Hepburn's participation in the renewal of the Covenants in 1712, these fell through and Hepburn and his followers did not attend.49 It is possible that Hepburn's failure to renew the Covenants in 1712 inspired McMillan to dub Hepburn and his followers the 'Hebronites'. The Biblical town of Hebron is associated with two Covenant renewals - firstly by Abraham and secondly by David.50 Since Hepburn and his followers never renewed the Scottish Covenants, there would have been a very Biblical irony to their description as 'Hebronites' by those who had.

To conclude this section on the religious and political background to the Galloway Levellers Uprising of 1724 to a conclusion, the events of 1715 must now be considered. The Jacobite rebellion in the south of Scotland began when William Gordon. 6th Viscount of Kenmure raised their standard at Moffat on 12 October 1715. On 16 November 1715, 16 Jacobites from Dumfries and Galloway51 were amongst those who surrendered at Preston:

William Maxwell, earl of Nithsdale
John Maxwell of Stielston
Edmund Maxwell of Carnsalloch
William Maxwell of Munches
George Maxwell, his brother
Charles Maxwell of Cowhill
William Gordon, viscount Kenmure
Robert Dalzell, earl of Carnwath
John Dalzell, his brother ( their sister Mary was married to William Gordon)
William Grierson of Lag
Gilbert Grierson his brother (sons of Robert, persecutor of Covenanters)
Andrew Cassie of Kirkhouse
Walter Riddle of Glenriddle
Robert McClellan of Barscobe
Robert Douglas of Auchenshinnoch
Basil Hamilton of Baldoon

The Jacobites' move had already been anticipated by the government. On 8 October, Adam Cockburn, Lord Justice Clerk, had written to Robert Corbet, the Provost of Dumfries:

Having good information that there is a design framed of rising in Rebellion in the Southern parts, against His Majesty and the Government, I send this express that you may be on your guard: For what I can rely upon , their first attempt is to be suddenly made upon your town. I heartily wish you may escape their intended visit. I am Sir, etc
Ad. Cockburn52

On 10 October, the ministers of Tinwald and Torthorwald assembled a group of armed parishioners at Locharbridge, just outside Dumfries, and offered their services in defence of the town. Meanwhile, William Johnston, Marquis of Annandale, acting as Lord- Lieutenant for Dumfriesshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright appointed several Deputy Lieutenants for the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, including Alexander Murray of Broughton, Thomas Gordon of Earlston, Patrick Heron of Kirroughtrie, Robert Johnston of Kelton and Adam Craik of Arbigland Stewartry, with orders to assemble all the 'fencible (militia) men' of the Stewartry at Leathes Muir (near present day Castle Douglas on the Old Military Road to Dumfries) on 11 October. In his 1718 History of the Late Rebellion, Rae claims 5000 assembled, but this must be an exaggeration. A similar gathering, which had already been rehearsed in mid- September, took place near Closeburn in Nithsdale on the same day. On the 12 October a company of armed volunteers from Kirkcudbright, led by their provost, arrived in Dumfries.53

The Jacobite forces, which amounted to only 153 armed horsemen, had reached within a mile and half of Dumfries on the afternoon of 12 October before becoming aware that they had lost the element of surprise. They then retreated to Lochmaben and continued heading east into the Borders via Langholm , Hawick and Jedburgh before crossing over in to Northumberland where they joined with a group of English Jacobites at Rothbury on 19 October. This joint force then crossed back over into Scotland to meet up with a force of 1500 Highlanders led by Mackintosh of Borlum at Kelso on 22 October. With the support of these reinforcements, the Jacobites decided to make another attempt on Dumfries. On the night of 31 October, an advance party of 400 Jacobite horsemen came within 3 miles of the town, but once more retreated on learning that the town was now fortified and defended by 1500 fully armed volunteers under the direction of 7 'half-pay' officers plus 100 volunteers equipped with scythes blades attached to long poles.54

Significantly for claims later made by the Galloway Levellers, after visiting Dumfries on 20 October, the Marquis of Annandale returned to Edinburgh under the impression that immediate (i.e. 12 October) crisis was over. Following the Marquis' departure, the official militia raised by his Deputy Lieutenants was stood down. Thus, after the Jacobites had been reinforced by Mackinotsoh and his Highlanders on 22 October and made their second advance towards the town, “Dumfries had to rely for its defence on volunteer soldiers alone.”55 Whilst the majority of these volunteers would have been drawn from those recruited by Colonel William Maxwell and his colleagues after their meeting at Dalmellington in 1714, one group were not. On 31 October, John Hepburn and 300 of his armed followers assembled on the outskirts of Dumfries. Their arrival was greeted with concern, since Dumfries minister William Veitch was convinced that Hepburn was secretly a Jesuit and hence a Jacobite supporter. Reid dismisses this claim as an 'extraordinary theory', but it made Dumfries town council very nervous.56 As a result, Hepburn's force were not invited to enter the town, remaining west of the Nith on Corbelly Hill until the Jacobite threat had passed.

What then was the legacy of 1715? It was the revival of old divisions. The oldest of these divisions had its origins in the Reformation and was revived when members of the Roman Catholic Maxwell family (led by the Earl of Nithsdale) joined the Jacobite forces. The Jacobite forces also included William and Gilbert Grierson, sons of a still living Robert Grierson of Lag. Their involvement could not but revive memories of the Killing Times. Finally, the ambiguous involvement of John Hepburn and his Hebronites (with John McMillan and the Cameronians in the background) revived recent divisions within the Presbyterian community. Significantly for the events which were to unfold in 1724, these religious and political divides had a geographical focus centred on the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.

Of the 16 identifiable Jacobites in 1715, nine were land owners in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright were. The Jacobite forces were led by Viscount Kenmure from Kells parish, the Earl of Nithsdale's home was in Terregles parish, George and William Maxwell were of Munches in Buittle parish, Robert McLellan was of Barscobe in Balmaclellan parish, Basil Hamilton 'of Baldoon' lived in Kirkcudbright parish, Robert Douglas came from Auchenshinnoch in Dalry parish and the Griersons of Lag had lands in Troqueer and Lochrutton parishes. The remaining seven Jacobites were Dumfriesshire land owners. In contrast, Wigtownshire provided no Jacobites in 1715.

Opposition to the Jacobites in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright was initially led by Colonel William Maxwell of Cardoness and then by another 14 landowners (including Patrick Heron of Kirroughtrie). They were actively supported by Kirkcudbright town council and most parish ministers.57 This group represented the moderate Presbyterianism of the majority of the population and the post-Revolution Settlement establishment.

Outwith these two groups were three others in the Stewartry. In Balmaghie, John McMillan still illegally occupied the kirk and manse with the support of his parishioners of whom Reid estimates there were around 500.58 These parishioners were personally loyal to McMillan rather than being members of the Cameronian flock he simultaneously ministered to in Lanarkshire. In Urr, there was John Hepburn who likewise drew on the personal loyalty of his immediate parishioners as well as that of his Hebronite followers who lived in neighbouring parishes. The third group were the Roman Catholic population of the Stewartry. These were mainly tenants of the Roman Catholic Maxwells in Buittle, Troqueer, Kirgunzeon and Terregles (and Caerlaverock in Nithsdale) but also included the Glendinnings of Parton and the Neilsons of Barncaillie. Despite fears that this group would support the Jacobites, many were “at arms in Dumfries and manifested a great deal of zeal against the Rebellion.”59

With a population of only around 18 000 in 171560,

lowland zone rural population growth/ pressure on farming =arable, unimproved.

Friday, January 16, 2009

GLRP sources and references

GLRP Sources and References

The Register of the Synod of Galloway 1664 to 1671 (Kirkcudbright, 1856)
Minute Book kept by the War Committee of the Covenanters in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright in the years 1640 and 1641 (Kirkcudbright, 1855)
Nicholson's notebook, Hornel Library, NTS Broughton House, Kirkcudbright
Letter to the Right Honourable Augustus Du Cary, Commander of His Majesty's Troops, from the Poor distressed Tenants of Galloway, (June 1724) National Library of Scotland, Wodrow MSS XL94
An Account of the Reasons of Some People in Galloway, their meetings anent Public Grievances through Enclosure (1724) Edinburgh University , New College Library [Special Collections] B.c.4.8/14
News from Galloway, or the Poor Man’s Plea against his landlord in a letter to a friend (1724) Edinburgh University , New College Library [Special Collections] B.c.4.8/10
The Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799 Vol. V: Kirkcudbrightshire and Wigtownshire, (Wakefield, 1983.) [OSA]
Statistical Account of Scotland Vol. VI Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, Wigtown (Edinburgh,1845) [NSA]
Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds 1675-1700 (Edinburgh, 1950)
Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds 1623- 1674 (Edinburgh, 1939)
McKerlie P : History of the Lands and their Owners in Galloway (London, 1878)

Aitchison P and Cassell A : The Lowland Clearances Scotland's Silent Revolution 1760-1830 ( East Linton, 2003)

Bailey B :The Luddite Rebellion (Stroud, 1998)
Brooke D: Northumbrian Settlement in Galloway and Carrick Proceedings SAS Vol. 121 (1991)
Brooke D : Wild Men and Holy Places, St. Ninian, Whithorn and the Medieaval Realm of Galloway (Edinburgh, 1994)
British Geological Survey : Geology in south-west Scotland , An excursion guide

Canny N : Making Ireland British 1580-1650 (Oxford, 2001)
Christie A : The Abbey of Dundrennan (Dalbeattie, 1914)
Cochran L: Scottish Trade with Ireland in the Eighteenth Century (Edinburgh, 1985)
Coffey J : Politics, Religion and the British Revolutions, the mind of Samuel Rutherford (Cambridge, 1997)
Corrie J : Droving days in south west Scotland (Dumfries, 1900)
Cullen L and Smout C: Comparative Aspects of Scottish and Irish Economic and Social History
1600-1900 (Edinburgh,1976)
Davidson N: Discovering the Scottish Revolution 1692-1746 (London , 2003)
Devine T: Exploring the Scottish past (East Linton, 1995)
Devine T (ed.) : Improvement and Enlightenment , Proceedings of the Scottish Historical Studies Seminar University of Strathclyde 1987-1988 (Edinburgh, 1988)
Devine T and Mitchison R (eds.) : People and Society in Scotland Vol.1 1760-1830 (Edinburgh, 1988)
Devine T : Scotland's Empire 1600- 1815 (London, 2003)
Devine T: The Transformation of Rural Scotland Social Change and the Agrarian Economy 1660-1815 (Edinburgh, 1999)
Dixon P: Field Systems, Rigs and Other Cultivation Remains in Scotland: The Field Evidence in
Foster S and Smout C : The History of Soils and Field Systems (Aberdeen, 1994)
Donnachie I: The Industrial Archaeology of Galloway ( Newton Abbot, 1971)
Donnachie I and MacLeod I : Old Galloway (Newton Abbot, 1974)

Edgar R, edited by Reid R. : An Introduction to the History of Dumfries (Dumfries, 1915)
Fenton A : Country life in Scotland, Our Rural Past (Edinburgh, 1987)
Fenton. A: Plough and Spade in Dumfries and Galloway : Transactions DGNHAS, 3rd Series Vol. 45
Fergusson A : The Laird of Lag, a Life Sketch (Edinburgh, 1886)
Fortune J: The Story of Bengairn (Castle Douglas, 2005)
Frew D :Th Parish of Urr Civil and Ecclesiastical (Dalbeattie, 1909)
Fry M: The Dundas Despotism (Edinburgh, 1992)
Fry M : The Union , England Scotland and the Treaty of 1707 (Edinburgh, 2006)
Gauldie E : The Scottish Country Miller 1700-1900 A History of Water-powered Meal Milling in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1981)
Gray A : Borgue, The Land and People Annals of the Parish (Wigtown, 2001)

Haldane A :The Drove Roads of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1997)
Hancock D: Citizens of the World (Cambridge, 1997 edition)
Hill, G : An Historical Account of the Plantation of Ulster (Belfast, 1877)
Hill, G : Names in the Land Grants in Northern Ireland (Belfast, 1877)
Hobsbawm E and Rude G: Captain Swing (London 1969)

Insh G: Scottish Colonial Schemes 1620-1686 (Glasgow, 1922)

Johnstone C, History of the Johnstones 1191- 1909 (Edinburgh,1909)


Lee C: A Cotton Enterprise, 1795- 1840, a history of M'Connel and Kennedy, fine cotton spinners (Manchester, 1972)
Leopold J: The Levellers Revolt in Galloway in 1724, Journal of the Scottish Labour History Society 14 (1980)
Lindsay M: The Burns Encyclopaedia (London, 1980)
Linklater A : Measuring America How the United States was Shaped by the Greatest Land Sale in History
( London , 2002)
Marshall G: Presbyteries and Profits, Calvinism and the Development of Capitalism in Scotland 1560-1707 (Oxford, 1980)
Marshall R: The Days of Duchess Anne, Life in the Household of the Duchess of Hamilton 1656-1716 (East Linton, 2000)
McCulloch A : Galloway: A Land Apart (Edinburgh, 2000)
MacDowall W : History of the Burgh of Dumfries (Dumfries, 1867)
MacDowall W : Chronicles of Lincluden, as an Abbey & as a College (Edinburgh, 1886)
Macinnes A : Clanship, Commerce and the House of Stuart, 1603-1788 (East Linton, 1996)
Macinnes A : Union and Empire The Making of the United Kingdom in 1707 (Cambridge, 2007)
McIlvanney L: Burns the Radical (East Linton, 2002)
McKerlie P : History of the Lands and their Owners in Galloway (London, 1878)
Mackintosh W : An Essay on Ways and Means for Inclosing (Edinburgh, 1729)
Mackay J : Burns-Lore of Dumfries and Galloway ( Ayr, 1988)
Macky J : A Journey through Scotland ( London, 1729)
McKenzie W: History of Galloway (Kirkcudbright, 1844)
McLynn F: The Jacobites (London, 1985)
MacRobert A : To See Oursels...Visitors to Dumfries and Galloway from medieval to modern times (Dumfries, 2001)
Morton A: Galloway and the Covenanters (Paisley, 1914)
Morton A: The Levellers of Galloway, Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series, Vol. 19 (1935/6)
Murray A : The Customs Accounts of Dumfries and Kirkcudbright, 1560-1660, Transactions DGNHAS, 3rd Series Vol. 42


Oram R : The Lordship of Galloway (Edinburgh, 2000)
Paterson R : Scotland and the Covenanter Wars 1638-1690 (Edinburgh, 1998)
Perceval-Maxwell, M: The Scottish Migration to Ulster in the Reign of James I (London, 1973)
Philip L: Planned Villages in Dumfriesshire and Galloway, Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series,
Vol.70 (2006)
Prevost W: The Drove Road into Annandale. Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series Vol. 31 (1954)
Prevost W :Letters Reporting the Rising of the Levellers in 1724, Transactions DGNHAS, 3rd Series,
Vol.44 (1967)
Prevost W: A Journie to Galloway in 1721 by Sir John Clerk of Penicuik ,Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series Vol.41 (1964)
Prevost W : Sir John Clerk's Journey into Galloway in 1735, Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series Vol. 42 (1965)

Rae P : History of the Late Rebellion : Rais'd Against His Majesty King George, by the Friends of
the Popish Pretender (Dumfries, 1718)
Rainsford-Hannay F : Dry Stone Walling (Stoneleigh Park, 1999)
Reid H : A Cameronian Apostle (Edinburgh, 1896)
Reid H: The Hebronites Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series Vol.7
Reid H : One of King William’s Men (London, 1898)
Renwick J : An Informatory Vindication (1687)
Rusk J : History of the Parish and Abbey of Glenluce (Edinburgh and London, 1930)
Russell J : Gatehouse and District (Dumfries, 2003)
Rutherford S (ed. Murray T.): The Last and Heavenly Speeches and Glorious Departure of John Gordon, Viscount Kenmuir (London and Edinburgh, 1827)

Sankey M : Jacobite Prisoners of the 1715 Rebellion : Preventing and Punishing Insurrection in Early Hanoverian Britain (Aldershot, 2005)
Scot W : The Parish Lists of Wigtownshire and Minnigaff, 1684 (Edinburgh, 1916)
Scott A : Bonnie Dundee John Graham of Claverhouse (Edinburgh, 2000)
Shirley G : Two Pioneer Galloway Agriculturalists: Robert Maxwell of Arkland and William Craik
of Arbigland Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series Vol. 13 (1926)
Smith J: Cheesemaking in Scotland (Clydebank, 1995)
Smout C: A History of the Scottish People 1560-1830 (London, 1969 )
Snyder F: The Life of Robert Burns (New York, 1932)
Stark : The Book of Kirkpatrick Durham (Dalbeattie, 1903)
Stephen J: Scottish Presbyterians and the Act of Union 1707 (Edinburgh ,2007)
Stone P (ed.) : Geology in south-west Scotland , An excursion guide (Nottingham, 1996)
Stuart F: Lady Nithsdale and the Jacobites ( Innerleithen, 1995)
Symson A : Large Description of Galloway (Edinburgh, 1823)
Szechi D: George Lockhart of Carnwath 1689-1727 A Study in Jacobitism (London, 2002)
Szechi D: 1715 The Great Jacobite Rebellion (London, 2006)
Torrance R: Dundrennan Abbey, A Source Book 1142 -1612 (Edinburgh, 1996)
Torrance R : The McLellans of Galloway (Edinburgh, 1993)
Trinder B: The Making of an Industrial Landscape (London, 1982 )
Trotter A : East Galloway Sketches (Castle Douglas, 1901)

Uglow J: The Lunar Men, The Friends who made the Future 1730-1810 (London, 2002)


Wallace W: Robert Burns and Mrs Dunlop (London, 1898)
Watt D : The Price of Scotland ,Darien, Union and the Wealth of Nations (Edinburgh, 2007)
Watt J.M : Dumfries and Galloway a literary guide (Dumfries, 2000)
Whatley C: Scottish Society 1707-1830 Beyond Jacobitism, towards industrialisation (Manchester, 2000)
Whatley C with Patrick D : The Scots and the Union (Edinburgh, 2006)
Whitelaw H : The Union of 1707 in Dumfriesshire Transactions DGNHAS 2nd Series Vol.19 ( 1907)
Whyte I :Agriculture and Society in Seventeenth Century Scotland (Edinburgh,1979)
Williams B : The Whig Supremacy 1714-1760 (Oxford, 1960)
Wilson A : The Novantae and the Romanization of Galloway Transactions DGNHAS 3rd Series Vol. 75 (2001)
Woodward D : A Comparative Study of the Irish and Scottish Livestock Trades in the Seventeenth Century in Cullen L
and Smout C: Comparative Aspects of Scottish and Irish Economic and Social History 1600-1900 (Edinburgh, 1976)

Yates M: The Excavations at Polmaddy, New Galloway Transactions DGNHAS3rd series Vol.53 (1977-8) p.134


January 2009 edit Galloway Levellers

Before proceeding to the events of 1724, some consideration must be given to background research into the Galloway Levellers uprising. A major difficulty encountered in the course of this research project is the lack of analytical studies of regional history. Oram's The Lordship of Galloway 1 which studies the tenth to the thirteenth centuries in great detail, is the one exception. For example, Oram describes the medieval farming society of Galloway as evolving out of a diverse cultural mix which
produced a complex pattern, where systems of transhumance that supported a pastoral economy geared in some areas principally towards dairying were juxtaposed with zones of intensive arable cultivation. This was a pattern that survived down to the early nineteenth century, but has since been lost in the successive programmes of progressive enclosure of the Galloway landscape and commercial re-afforestation of the uplands.2

In broad outline, Oram's suggestion that this complex pattern of medieval farming practice survived in Galloway down to the early nineteenth century may be correct. Against this must be set the complex changes in land ownership which occurred from the fifteenth century onwards. Unless these changes in land ownership patterns can at least be outlined, it is is difficult to fully understand the events of 1724.

In addition to changes in land ownership patterns, the origins of Galloway's cattle trade in the Plantation of Ulster and its subsequent development through the seventeenth century need to be outlined, as do the political and religious conflicts of the same period. Finally, and in contrast to Oram's suggestion, the possibility that by the eighteenth century, Galloway's economy and society had developed to a 'proto-industrial' or 'proto-capitalist' stage of development needs to be considered in the light of evidence uncovered by this research project.

Each of these four themes could be expanded into dissertation length studies in their own right, but since the focus of this dissertation is on the immediate causes, events and consequences of the Galloway Levellers uprising of 1724, brief summaries will have to suffice for the present. It is hoped that the summaries will contain sufficient detail to at least indicate their relevance to the events of 1724.

Land use and land ownership

Relief map of Galloway and south-west Scotland.
As the above map shows, there is a distinct difference between west (Wigtownshire) and east (Stewartry of Kirkcudbright) Galloway. The Stewartry contains an extensive upland zone whilst Wigtownshire does not. This might suggest a land use division between a mainly arable Wigtownshire and a mainly pastoral Stewartry, however the situation is complicated by the problem of drainage. Until extensive drainage works were carried out in the early nineteenth century (and continued through the twentieth century) extensive areas of potentially good arable land were too wet to be used. Thus the complex pattern of land use described by Oram evolved, with extensive areas of pastoral farming surrounding patches of better drained land which were worked intensively to produce cereal crops.

Where labour intensive arable farming predominated, parishes were much smaller than those where livestock farming predominated. Before its seventeenth century division in to Old and New Luce, the largest parish in Wigtownshire was the upland parish of Glenluce which had an area of 107 square miles or 278 square kilometres. In comparison the lowland parish of Wigtown had an area of 15 square miles or 39 square kilometres. In the Stewartry, the largest parish was the upland parish of Minnigaff, with an area of 137 square miles or 356 square kilometres whilst the lowland parish of Kirkcudbright was 18 square miles or 46 square kilometres.

The origins of this pattern of land use and population distribution can be traced back at least 2000 years 3. Once established, the division of Galloway into blocks of territory by land use persisted through subsequent changes in land ownership and control. Brooke, for example, suggests that in the period of Northumbrian dominance (between the seventh and ninth centuries), direct Anglian control was exercised over lowland, arable estates whilst the pastoral uplands were retained (in exchange for tributes) by indigenous Brittonic rulers.4

One possible and significant change may have occurred in the tenth century, after the break-down of Northumbrian rule. As discussed by Oram, the place name element airigh

represents the adoption of a Gaelic Irish or Hebridean term by non-Gaelic settlers, and with it the adoption of the dairy-based pastoral economy of the Gaelic west. It has widespread distribution throughout Galloway, Mann and the English Lake District, where the common link has been identified as Norse and Norse Gaelic settlement after c.900 as part of the diaspora of colonists attendant on the expulsion of the Scandinavians from Dublin.5

Along with the more ambiguous evidence of the place name elements holm and dale6, the upland distribution of airigh place names [see photograph below] suggests that Norse Gaelic settlement may have helped integrate the upland and lowland economies.
Airie Hill from Grobdale, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.
If the evidence provided by the list of lands forfeited by the 9th earl of Douglas in 1456 7 can be used to indicate the core of the lands which were part of the Lordship of Galloway, the outline of this integration is revealed. A significant cluster of these land holdings (27%) lay in the lowland arable zone of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright, between the rivers Dee and Urr. An equally significant cluster (also 27%) lay in upland pastoral zone of the Stewartry, in the Glenkens district. The two areas are linked by the Dee/ Ken river system which is navigable for 15 miles (24 km) between Threave castle on the Dee and Kenmure castle at the north end of Loch Ken. Discussing the origin's (sometime between 1093 and 1112) of Fergus of Galloway's lordship or kingdom, Oram states that Burned Island on Loch Ken was the 'chief seat of the Lords of Galloway in the Glenkens', with 'an original core of power in the lower Dee valley, centred on Kirkcudbright' 8 A core of landholdings stretching up the Dee/Ken river system would allow an integrated system of land use, with the arable surplus of the grange lands of Threave and Kelton supporting an expansion of pastoral farming in the uplands of the Glenkens. Although such upland farms would have cultivated any suitable patches of arable land, these would have been highly marginal and unreliable sources of the staple crops of oats and bere (barley).

So long as the Lordship of Galloway existed as a coherent territorial unit, embracing both upland and lowland zones, an integrated feudal economy could function across the region. But when this coherence was disrupted, as it was during the Bruce/ Balliol struggles of the fourteenth century, the internal economy broke down. In her study of the Glenkens, Brooke draws attention to a letter written to the Pope in 1428 by the Archdeacon and rector of St. John's church, Dalry complaining that his church was in a state of advanced decay Brooke doubts that this was due to 'the direct effects of war or epidemic seventy years before', but rather 'suggests a village which had become isolated by the shrinkage of others around it', implying economic depression. Brooke hypothesises that a group of Gaelic speakers (Clenconnon) was planted as a colony in the Balmacellan area of the Glenkens to ' replenish a depleted population', from whom the Maclellans and Cannons of Galloway are descended.9

Although the Lordship of Galloway was revived as a territorial unit by the earls of Douglas after 1369, this addition to the already extensive land holdings of the Douglas earldom led to rivalry with the Stewarts. In 1455, James II besieged Threave castle and in 1456 all of the Douglas lands in Galloway were forfeited to the Crown. These lands were then progressively sold (feued) off.10 This process had several consequences. One consequence was the fragmentation of land ownership, a process which increased as Galloway's great monastic estates were broken up in the later sixteenth century. The largest single transfer of land ownership occurred in the case of Glenluce Abbey, when the whole of their lands (66 named farms) were transferred by Feu Charter to Gilbert Kennedy, Earl of Cassilis in November 1560, re-confirmed in July 1572.11 However the Kennedy family were unable to retain these lands, which broke up into 18 smaller, individually owned estates estates. One of these smaller estates, Balneil, was acquired by James Ross sometime before 1633. James' daughter Margaret married James Dalrymple (later 1st Viscount of Stair) in 1644. James Ross died in 1655, and James Dalrymple had sasine of Balneil in April of that year. 12 James Dalrymple, his son John (1st earl of Stair) and their descendants built up extensive land holdings in Wigtownshire, but the 66 farms originally feued by Glenluce Abbey to Gilbert Kennedy were never re-assembled into a single estate. A similar pattern can be traced with other monastic estates and church lands in Galloway. Even where the lands of a whole church-owned parish initially passed into the ownership of one family -the Gordon's in the case of the lands of Lincluden Collegiate Church in Crossmichael parish 13, the Maxwell's in the case of Dundrennan Abbey's lands in Rerrick parish 14– progressive fragmentation of land ownership occurred. For Dundrennan Abbey's lands, Torrance gives details of 133 charters and tacks, the bulk of which (114) relate to the period 1510 to 1612.15 One of the early charters, from October 1305, mentions 'Netherlathe'. As Netherlaw, this was the first cattle park to be levelled in 1724 16and had been a cattle park (belonging to Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardton) since 1688.17

Unlike the monastic estates, the Crown lands (those forfeited by the 9th earl of Douglas in 1456) in Galloway passed into private ownership as individual farms rather than as parish scale units. An example which has direct significance for this study is Baldoon in Kirkinner parish. As Ballydonne, Baldoon and the neighbouring Lybrack were amongst the five grange lands in the Machars district of Wigtownshire belonging to the Lordship of Galloway. In February 1533, Archibald Dunbar (brother of Archbishop Gavin Dunbar) was granted a charter to Baldoon by James V. The Dunbars had been landowners in the neighbouring parish of Mochrum since 1368. In 1627, David Dunbar (elder) inherited Baldoon where he lived until his death in December 1686. In 1674, David Dunbar added Lybrack to his Baldoon estate. His son, David Dunbar (younger) having died in 1682, his grand-daughter Mary Dunbar became heiress. Born in 1677, Mary was the daughter of David Dunbar (younger)'s second marriage.18 Since Mary Dunbar was only nine on her grand-father's death, Baldoon reverted (was escheat) to the Crown and was 'donated' to William Douglas, Duke of Hamilton. The duke appointed Thomas Alexander in Cumstoun (Kirkcudbright) as his factor for the Dunbar lands on 26 February 1687. 19

Mary Dunbar's mother (Lady Eleanor Mongomerie, daughter of the 7th earl of Eglinton) died in 1687 and so mary became a ward of the duke and duchess of Hamilton and lived as a member of their household at Hamilton Palace. In 1691, Mary Dunbar married Basil Hamilton, the sixth son of the duke and duchess of Hamilton. Mary and Basil Hamilton had four children, all of whom were born at Hamilton Palace. After the death of the duke in 1694, Basil helped his mother manage the Hamilton estates until his death in 1701.20 In addition to managing the Hamilton estates, in 1699 Basil Hamilton became an active supporter of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies – the ill-fated Darien scheme.21

By 1715, Mary and her son Basil had moved back to Galloway, but not to Baldoon. They lived at St. Mary's Isle near Kirkcudbright. Basil Hamilton was only 18 in 1715 when he joined the Dumfries and Galloway Jacobites, acting as lieutenant to William Gordon,Viscount Kenmure. After his capture at Preston, Basil Hamilton family, including his grandmother, duchess Anne of Hamilton petitioned for clemency, securing his release from the Tower of London. Although technically forfeit, Basil Hamilton's lands (including Baldoon) were retained by his mother who argued that she, rather than her son, owned the Dunbar lands. 22 As a result, in 1724, when Basil Hamilton pursued a group of Galloway Levellers for damages to his cattle parks, he had to do so on behalf of his mother. During the second half of the eighteenth century, Basil Hamilton's son and grandson (both earls of Selkirk) increased and improved the family's lands in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright. Baldoon itself was sold for £125 000 to the earl of Galloway in 1793, 260 years after it had first been acquired by Archibald Dunbar.23

In May 1702, a charter listing the Dunbar lands which would have been inherited by William Hamilton (died 1703) was drawn up.24 This listed 95 farms/ lands of which 21 were in Wigtownshire and the remainder in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright.
Kirkinner 16
Sorbie 3
Wigtown 2
Balmaclellan 2
Borgue 8
Kells 1
Kelton 5
Kirkcudbright 27
Kirkmabreck 2
Kirkpatrick Irongray 10
Rerrick 5
Twynholm 14

Of these lands, only two were upland farms, Corriedow and Garcrogo in Balmaclellan parish. Polmaddy in Kells parish was in the uplands, but was a small settlement based around an inn and a mill next to a ford on an old pack road between the Glenkens and Ayrshire.25 Confusingly, for Corriedow and Garcrogo (and likewise Polmaddy) McKerlie does not give any connection to the Dunbar/ Hamilton family. Corriedow had belonged to Robert McLellan of Barscobe, but was forfeit after his participation in the Dalry (Pentland) Uprising of 1666. By 1684 it had been acquired by Robert Gordon of Troquhane from McLellan's widow.26 In 1697 Esther McCormack of Barlay owned both Garcrogo and Polmaddy, which had passed to Robert Gordon of Troquhane by 1704. In 1693 Alexander Gordon, Viscount Kenmure, owed Robert Gordon 'several sums of money'. After Alexander Gordon's death in 1698, Robert Gordon was infeft in the lands and barony of Balmaclellan previously belonging to Alexander Gordon.27 It therefore seems more likely that Robert Gordon of Troquhane rather than the Dunbar/Hamilton family owned these upland farms in 1702.

If so, then the Dunbar/ Hamilton family never owned any upland farms. Their original lands in Wigtownshire and those later acquired in the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright were all in Galloway's lowland, arable zone. Thus, although the family were amongst the largest landowners in Galloway, they did not re-create the integration of upland and lowland land use which had been a feature of the medieval lordship of Galloway's land holdings. Instead, what seems to have happened is that the upland and lowland farming zones were linked through a market economy. In his Large Description of Galloway, which was probably written for Sir Robert Sibbald in 1682, Symson states that the small town of Minnigaff

hath a very considerable market every Saturday, frequented by the moormen of Carrick, Monnygaffe, and other moor places, who buy there great quantities of meal and malt, brought thither out of the parishes of Whitherne, Glaston, Sorbie, Mochrum, Kirkinner &c 28

In his description of Wigtown burgh, Symson says that four annual markets are held there; two where woollen cloth is sold to merchants from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Ayr and 'other places', a horse fair which attracts 'Borderers from Annadale and thereabouts' and a cattle market 'frequented by butchers fropm Dumfries and thereabouts'. 29 Unfortunately, although Symson does note the existence of other markets and fairs, he does not give details of the goods traded. Nor is it clear how long these markets had been in operation. Some, like the St Lawrence Fair held in Kirkandrew's church yard in Borgue on the ninth of August, must have been pre-Reformation, but the weekly markets in Minnigaff are likely to have developed after Galloway's medieval or feudal economy was disrupted the forfeiture of the lordship of Galloway's landholdings in 1456.

The suggestion is that the integration of upland and lowland land use through regional scale land ownership ( probably first established by Fergus of Galloway in the early twelfth century) broke down in the later fifteenth century. The fragmented pattern of land ownership which then emerged had to re-integrated upland and lowland zones through the development of a market economy.

To illustrate: sometime before 1358, when it is first mentioned in a charter by David II, an ill-defined area of hunting forest existed between the rivers Cree and Ken.30 This mountainous upland area of over 100 square miles (259 square kilometres) included the Forest of Buchan, centred on Glentrool. In 1456 the Forest of Buchan was amongst the lands forfeited to the Crown by the 9th earl of Douglas. By 1580, the lands were owned by the Kennedys of Cassillis, passing to John Gordon of Lochinvar in 1628 before reverting to the Kennedys in 1668.31 In 1684, the Forest of Buchan contained eleven farms occupied by 46 people over the age of 12.32 Although these upland farms would have had patches of cultivated land, they would not have been self-sufficient in oats and bere. Before 1456, supplying these farms with extra 'meal and malt' would have been a straightforward management process. Some of the surplus of grain produced by the lowland grange lands would have been deployed to maintain production of cattle, sheep and horses from the upland farms. After 1456, when this 'vertically integrated' system of land use management began to break-down as land ownership became fragmented, another form of integration developed. In this 'privatised' system, there was still an exchange of production between lowland and upland zones. Grain from the lowland zone was still exchanged for cattle, horses and wool from the upland zone, but, as Symson shows, these exchanges were now part of a market economy. This market economy operated at alocal level through weekly markets, like Minnigaff's, and at a regional and national level, as with Wigtown's annual fairs.

From the perspective of land use, the pattern was still (as Oram suggested) 'medieval'. The arable surplus of the Wigtownshire Machars' grange lands still supported farms in the pastoral uplands of the Forest of Buchan, which in turn still sent their cattle, horses and wool down to Wigtown. But, to use the phrase Karl Marx took from Thomas Carlyle, it is clear from Symson's report that the relationship between upland and lowland farmers was already mediated by a post-medieval 'cash nexus'. Indeed, as documented by McKerlie's History of the Lands and their Owners in Galloway and confirmed by the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds 1623-1700, by the seventeenth century the land and its produce had become commodified in Galloway. Farms and their crops were bought, sold, leased and mortgaged (wadset) in bewildering confusion.

If an analysis of the bonds, dispositions and assignments which make up approximately 90% (over 5000) of the entries in the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds 1623-1700 was carried out, a comprehensive understanding of the Stewartry's internal economy would be possible. Such an analysis is beyond the scope of this present study, so the following is a generalisation. The impression created by the sheer volume of bonds, dispositions and assignments recorded in the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds 1623-1700 is that very little actual cash was in circulation. Instead of cash, promissory notes were exchanged between individuals. These could be passed on to third parties or even inherited. The ultimate foundation of this cashless economy was agricultural produce and land. Where the continuation of debt through further bonds was refused, payment would be made through the 'assignation' of crops, livestock and rent from a farm or through the mortgaging (wadsetting) of a farm. The fragmentation of land ownership, where the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds 1623-1700 indicate that were some 400 owner-occupied farms in the Stewartry, must have been a factor in the development of this economic system. If land ownership had been concentrated in a few large estates, this complex system of interlocking ( mainly small scale) debts could not have arisen since tenant-farmers could not accumulate debts on the security of their crops and livestock or their farms.

Some of the debts recorded are very small. On 10 August 1697, Anna Campbell 'late servatrix to John Johnstoun, merchant in Drumfries' assigned the £5 4 shillings owing to her by James Morrison, a tenant farmer, as 'harvest fee for the last harvest and the price of ane heuk (sickle)' to John Johnstoun, the sum of £5 4 shillings being equivalent to her debt to him.33 Larger debts could lead to changes in farm ownership. In November 1683, James Cannan of Killochie farm borrowed £24 sterling (£288 Scots) to John Irving who was a merchant in Dumfries. As security, James Cannan used his farm of Armannoch in Lochrutton parish. John Irving then assigned the debt to John Houstoune and his son who were tenants in Beltanehill farm. In January 1688 the Houstounes then paid James Cannan 1000 merks (£333 Scots) to cover his debt to John Irving. James Cannan then promised to pay the 1000 merks back to the Houstounes by Martinmas 1688, in security promising 'to infeft them, heritably under reversion, in the 20 shilling lands of Armannoch... redeemable on payment of the forsaid sum... promising to remove himself, wife, children, servants goods and gear from the said lands.'. 34 As this example shows, it was therefore possible for efficient tenant farmers to become owner-occupiers. In other cases, owner-occupiers could extend their land holdings at the expense of debt-ridden neighbours.

In the case of the Herons of Kirroughtree (Minnigaff parish) it was their involvement in Galloway's cattle trade which enabled to extend their land holdings in the parish. The Irish (Ulster) origins of the Galloway trade will be discussed below, since the Wigtownshire cattle parks described by Symson are likely to have been associated with this trade. Of these cattle parks, “the Parke of Baldone is the cheife,yea I may say, the first, and as it were the mother of all the rest...”

Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon hath a park, about two miles and an halfe in length and a mile and an halfe in breadth; the greatest part whereof is rich and deep valley ground, and yeelds excellent grass; upon the north side it is separated from the parish of Wigtown, by the river of Blaidnoch, which at low water will be about two miles betwixt the bank of the said park, and the chanel of the River of Cree, which divides it from the parish of Kirkmabreck in the Stewartry. This park can keep in it, winter and summer, about a thousand bestial, part whereof he buys from the country, and grazeth there all winter, the other part whereof is his own breed; for he hath neer two hundred miclh kine, which for the most have calves yearly. He buys also in the summer time from the countrey many bestiall, oxen for the most part which he keeps till August or September; so that yearly he ether sells at home to drovers, or sends to Saint Faiths, Satch, or other fairs in England about eighteen or twentie score of bestiall. Those of his owne breed, are very large, yea, so large, that in August or September 1682 nine and fifty of that sort , which would have yielded betwixt five and six pound sterling the peece were seized upon in England for Irish cattell; and because the person to whom they were entrusted had not witnesses that there ready at the precise hour, to swear that they were seen calved in Scotland (although the witness offered to depone that he liv’d in Scotland, within a mile of the park where they were calved and bred) , they were, by the sentence of Sir J.L., and some others who knew well enough that they were bred in Scotland, knockt on the head and kill’d; which was, to say no more, very hard measure, and an act unworthy of persons of that quality and station who ordered it to be done.35

In March 1682, Sir David Dunbar's son David died. Possibly as a result of this and now being in his seventies, Dunbar leased out the parks of Baldoon to Hugh Blair McGuffog of Rusco (died 1706) and Patrick Heron of Kirroughtrie (1642-1721). This partnership did not last and the resulting 'differences' between Hugh McGuffog and Patrick Heron were not settled until 1691.36 The nature and origin of the 'differences' between Hugh Blair McGuffog and Patrick Heron are unknown, but following the death of Sir David Dunbar in 1686, both became cattle breeders and traders in their own right and both had sons who were directly affected by the Galloway Levellers uprising.

To begin with, Hugh Blair McGuffog had an advantage over Patrick Heron, having acquired through marriage eleven upland farms in Anwoth and Girthon parishes (including Grobdale – see photograph above) 37 and eight lowland farms in neighbouring Borgue parish in 1680. Two of the farms in Borgue (Dunrod and Nether Senwick) had been grange lands, forfeited in 1456. One of the upland farms in Girthon (Pulcree) had also been forfeited in 1456. Hugh Blair McGuffog would therefore have been able to graze cattle on the upland farms in the summer and then keep them over winter on his lowland farms. That there were cattle parks on two of the Borgue farms (Laigh Borgue and Dunrod) is confirmed by entries in the Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds concerning the 'herding' of the parks and the upkeep of the park dykes.38 After the death of his first wife, in 1688 Hugh Blair McGuffog married Margaret Dunbar, second daughter of Sir David Dunbar (elder) of Baldoon. Their son Hugh Blair inherited in 1704. In 1724 the cattle park at Laigh Borgue built for his father was levelled. The Blair family retained ownership of their farms in Borgue until the end of the eighteenth century, by which time their lands in Anwoth and Girthon parishes had been sold to James Murray of Cally. Thus, although involvement in the cattle trade may have contributed to the wealth of Hugh Blair McGuffog, neither he nor his successors added any lands to those he had gained through marriage in 1680 to Elizabeth McGuffog.
When Sir David Dunbar set the parks of Baldoon in tack to Hugh Blair McGuffog and Patrick Heron, Hugh Blair McGuffog already owned nineteen farms, including a fortified tower house at Rusco in Anwoth parish. In contrast, Patrick Heron did not own any land. His father Andrew Heron owned a third share of Kirroughtrie and the small hill farm of Dallashcairne. Andrew Heron's other lands, nine hill farms, were held through wadsets. Patrick also had an elder brother, John, and so could not expect to inherit any of the farms. However, according to McKerlie,39 upon whom this account is based, when Andrew Heron died in February 1695, John Heron 'being of a tender constitution, he did not assume charge over any of the property...In fact the management was left by their father to Patrick, who at that time was greatly employed in managing the parks at Baldoon....'.

This suggests that Patrick Heron was still managing the parks of Baldoon in 1695, but conflicts with the 1691 'settlement of differences' between Patrick and Hugh Blair McGuffog 40 and with Woodward's finding that Patrick Heron of Littlepark 'sent 1000 or more cattle to England via Dumfries in each of the years 1689-91' 41 Assuming that Patrick Heron's partnership with Hugh Blair McGuffog ended soon after the death of Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon in 1686, where did Patrick Heron find the 3000 cattle sent to England between 1689 and 1691? Quoting a Heron family history, McKerlie states that by the time of Andrew Heron's death, Patrick Heron “had stock upon Glenshalloch, Garlarg, Lomashan, Draighmorn, Poldenbuy, Tonderghie, Craigdews, Kirouchtrie, the Lessons, Torwhinock, and Torrshinerack”. Apart from Kiroughtrie and the Lessons, these were all upland farms, originally part of the Forest of Buchan42 and covered an area of approximately 40 square miles (100 square kilometres) – three times larger than Hugh Blair McGuffog's upland farms. Significantly, the account quoted by McKelrie continues

Soon after his settlement there [Kirroughtrie] he had a law plea with John M'Kie of Palgown, who wished to have all the Larg estate, as transacted with the heirs of the line. At last they came to an arrangement to divide the land, by which Palgown got the title and residence. Patrick Heron afterwards divided the green of Machermore, with his cousin of Machermore; got his right to the third of Kirrouchtrie, and moss of Carsnaw secured by charter, etc.; as also the other third of Kirrouchtrie, that (Patrick) Murdoch of Cumloden claimed, with Craigdews, which he secured to himself and his posterity, by paying the said laird of Cumloden a sum of money to ratify his right...43

The Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court Deeds date Patrick Heron's acquisition of the lands (but not the tower house) of Larg to February 1695, but the daughters of the deceased Patrick McKie of Larg were already worried that they might be 'put from possession' in November 1690.44 Larg lies between Kirroughtrie and Minnigaff. Patrick's connection with Machermore, which is on arable merse land next to the river Cree below Minnigaff, came through his mother Jean, daughter of John Dunbar of Machermore. As McKerlie puts it “Patrick Heron had made a great deal of money in the cattle trade already mentioned and was thus enabled to buy up all claims.”

Thus by re-investing the 'English gold' he gained through the cattle trade by extending his land holdings – in both upland and lowland zones of Minnigaff parish- Patrick Heron was able to create an integrated system of land management geared up to cattle production. His efforts were continued by his son Patrick (1672- 1761), grandson Patrick ( 1701-1761) and great-grandson, the Patrick Heron (1736-1803) of Robert Burns Election Ballads. This last Patrick Heron unfortunately attempted to diversify into banking, co-founding the Ayr, or Heron, Douglas and Company, Bank in 1769. Its collapse in 1773 was financial disaster for south west Scotland. Amongst the consequences of its collapse was the loss by John Syme's father of Barncaillie and the sale in 1789 of Carlingwark by Sir Alexander Gordon of Greenlaw to William Douglas, founder of Castle Douglas.

To return to our first Patrick Heron, despite his success in the cattle trade, Woodward in his comparative study of the 17th century Scottish and Irish livestock trade, whilst unable to draw firm conclusions due to lack of sufficient data, considered that “ Scottish livestock exports did not expand significantly during the second half of the seventeenth century.”. This was despite the passing of an act of the English parliament banning the import of Irish cattle which came into force in January 1667 and a similar Scottish act of March 1667. The English ban was lifted between 1679 and 1681, allowing 24 116 Irish cattle into England in 1680.

The brief interlude of 1670-81 during which Irish stock once again found a ready sale in England gives us an illuminating insight into the development of the two economies. It has often been suggested that the Irish reacted to the 1667 ban by developing the provisioning trade. However the redevelopment of the livestock trade during 1679-81 suggests that provisioning had taken up only part of the slack…The Irish performance of 1679-81 also suggests that English demand for meat was not totally satisfied by home production together with additional supplies from Wales and Scotland. Thus it seems that Scottish producers failed to take advantage of favourable market conditions created by the 1667 ban on Irish stock. 45

Unfortunately, although both Woodward and Whyte provide figures (where available) for the cross-border Scotland/ England cattle trade between 1680 and 1691 these do not agree -Whyte uses the ‘Customs Year’ 1 November to 31 October, Woodward the calendar year. Thus for cattle exports from the Dumfries Customs Precinct ( Scottish totals / Dumfries % in brackets) Whyte 46 gives :

1680/1 - 1 273 ( 4 346/ 29. %)
1681/2 - 9 053 (16 336 / 55 %)
1682/3 - 10 500 (27 863/ 38 %)
1683/4 - 4 865 (12 564/ 39 %)
1684/5 - 9 090 (21 065/ 43%)
1685/6 - No data (24 082/ 0%)
1686/7 - No data
1687/8 - No data
1688/9 - 7 258 (16 226/ 45%)
1689/90 - 4 569 (10 3910/ 44%)
1690/1 - 801 (5 745/ 14%)

So from Whyte, between 1680/1 and 1690/1, Galloway (via Dumfries) provided 34% of Scotland cattle exports to England. Whereas Woodward47 gives

1681 - 6 204 (10 042/ 62%)
1682 - 8 747 (16 491/ 53%)
1683 - 10 763 ( 27 294/ 39 %)
1684 - 4 863 (14 015/ 35 %)
1685 - 9 148 (20 564/ 46 %)
1686 - No data
1687 - No data
1688 - No data
1689 - 7 709 (16 278/ 47 %)
1690 - 5 436 (12 367/ 43 %)
1691 - 7 846 (11 591/ 68 %)

So from Woodward, between 1681 and 1691 Galloway (via Dumfries) provided 49% of Scotland’s cattle exports to England. Averaging the figures gives 42% of Scotland’s cattle exports to England as originating in Galloway (via Dumfries) between 1681 and 1691.

Whyte, but not Woodward, provides a figure for the number of Irish cattle passing through the south west en route for England immediately prior to the 1667 ban. In 1665/6 under the Alisonbank Customs Precinct heading, Whyte gives 7292 Irish cattle and 1045 Scots cattle. Assuming that the cattle recorded at Dumfries Customs Precinct were from Galloway (since cattle from east of Dumfries would have been driven direct to Alisonbank 48), then annual exports of Galloway cattle peaked at 10 500 (Woodward) or 10 763 (Whyte) in 1683/4. But, as Woodward points out, since 24 116 Irish cattle were exported to England in 1680 following the temporary lifting of the 1667 ban, “it seems that Scottish producers failed to take advantage of favourable market conditions created by the 1667 ban on Irish stock.”.

To take up Woodward's point, from the perspective of Galloway's seventeenth century cattle trade, why did it not expand rapidly to 20 000 cattle per year after 1667? One answer could be that Galloway lacked the physical 'carrying capacity' to produce 20 000 cattle per year for export. This seems unlikely. The Old Statistical Accounts for Wigtownshire and the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright were written at at time (circa 1791) when the process of agricultural improvement was still under way. When the numbers of cattle in each parish (where given) are added up, the total for Galloway is 39 759 (29 745 Stewartry, 10 014 Wigtownshire). This gives an average of 1693 cattle per parish in the Stewartry and 1342 cattle per parish for Wigtownshire, giving an estimated 71 911 for total cattle numbers in Galloway circa 1790.

This suggests that had post -1667 land use in Galloway been reorganised to maximise cattle production for export to England, Galloway could have supplied the English market with 20 000 cattle per year, twice as many as actually produced. This could have been achieved if more land owners had followed Patrick Heron's example and used the profits (paid in hard currency, i.e. English money) to build up estates containing both upland and lowland farms thus vertically integrating cattle production. This would not have required any advance in agricultural knowledge, but would have required the large scale conversion of arable land to pasture. It was this last process and the resulting eviction of families from arable farms which was to trigger the Galloway Levellers' uprising in 1724. Amongst the land owners criticised by the Galloway Levellers were Patrick Heron's son and grandson, who were accused of depopulating Minnigaff parish.49

If land capacity constraints were not a limiting factor on expanding cattle production in Galloway post-1667, what other factors may have been involved? One factor not considered by Woodward was that opposition to the imposition of Episcopalianism following the restoration of Charles II in 1660 was particularly strong in south west Scotland, and especially strong in Galloway. Another significant factor was the close relationship between Galloway and Ulster following the Plantation of Ulster in 1609.

The Ulster connection is important since there is evidence that within twenty years of the Plantation of Ulster cattle from Donegal were being exported to England via Galloway. “As early as 1627 the Earl of Annandale had obtained from the privy council permission to land at Portpatrick and take to England cattle belong to his tenants, to enable them to pay their rents.”50 This Earl of Annandale was John Murray, a relative of the Murrays of Broughton in Wigtownshire. It was George Murray of Broughton who had originally been granted the lands in Donegal as part of the Plantation of Ulster, along with six other Undertakers.51 With the exception of Sir Robert McLellan of Bombie (later lord Kirkcudbright), these Undertakers all came from the Machars district of Wigtownshire:

George Murray of Broughton in Whithorn parish
James McCulloch of Dummorell in Whithorn parish
William Stewart of Mains in Sorbie parish
Alexander Dunbar of Eggerness in Sorbie parish
Alexander Cunnignham of Powton in Sorbie parish
Patrick Vaus of Lybrack in Kirkinner parish
Sir Robert McLellan of Bombie (later Lord Kirkcudbright)

John Murray' son James Murray, 2nd Earl of Annandale, died in 1658 without an heir and Richard Murray (George Murray's grandson) of Broughton claimed the Plantation lands around Killybegs in Donegal. By this time the Donegal lands had been consolidated into an estate of 60 000 acres. Richard Murray's claim was disputed but he was ultimately successful. Richard Murray married Anna Lennox of Cally in Girthon parish, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright and after Richard Murray's death in 1690, Alexander Murray of Broughton and Cally succeeded. By 1723, Alexander Murray had a large cattle park at Cally “which feeds a thousand bullocks, which he sends each year to England”.52 This cattle park was levelled in 1724.

Amongst the other Undertakers listed, William Stewart became an Irish baronet and was privy councillor during the reigns of James VI and Charles I “having served as a military officer during the troubles in Ireland”. Although he inherited the family lands in Wigtownshire, he passed most to his brother Robert and sold the remainder in 1643. William Stewart's son Alexander was killed at the battle of Dunbar in September 1653. In 1682 Alexander Stewart's son William was made Baron Ramulton and Viscount Mountjoy. Initially loyal to James VII and II in 1689, as a protestant William Stewart was mistrusted by the Irish Jacobites who removed William Stewart and his troops from the siege of Londonderry and denounced him as a traitor. As a result William Stewart transferred his allegiance to William of Orange. William Stewart was killed fighting for William of Orange at the battle of Steinkirk in 1692.53 The Stewart lands in Ulster were centred around Newtownstewart in County Tyrone.

The other undertakers disposed of their land grants firstly to Sir Robert Gordon of Lochinvar (Dalry parish, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright) before they passed to John Murray and then to Richard Murray. Although Sir Robert McLellan of Bombie did not develop his Donegal land grants, he did become a significant Ulster landowner. In Making Ireland British 1580-1650, Canny discusses the growth of McLellan's land holdings in detail.54 The bulk of these lands lay between Coleraine and Londonderry and had originally been granted to the London Haberdashers and Clothmakers companies. A condition of the land grants was that they should be settled with British (English or Scots) tenants. Neither of the London companies were able to meet this condition, but, using tenants (including family members) from his lands around Kirkcudbright, Sir Robert McLellan was able to. He also built a castle at Ballycastle on the north Antrim coast, thus meeting another of the Plantation conditions. In 1614 Robert McLellan married Mary Montgomery, eldest daughter of Sir Hugh Montgomery. Along with James Hamilton, Hugh Montgomery was involved in settling many Scots families in Counties Antrim and Down in an initiative separate from the Plantation of Ulster. Through his (second) marriage to Mary Montgomery, Sir Robert McLellan gained additional lands in County Down. Sir Robert McLellan spent considerable time in Ireland. In 1625 he was commissioned to raise a troop of 50 horse and 100 footsoldiers for service in Ireland and as a reward for his services, Charles I made him Lord Kirkcudbright in 1633. Sir Robert died in 1639.55

The title of Lord Kirkcudbright then passed to his nephew Thomas McLellan. After the death of John McLellan, the third lord Kirkcudbright in 1664, Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon gained possession of McLellan lands of Bombie in Kirkcudbright parish. The McLellan's Irish lands passed to Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardton, husband of Sir Robert McLellan's only legitimate heir, his daughter Margaret. They had four children- Robert, Hugh, Thomas and Anne.56 Robert inherited in 1671. In 1688 he was at Killyleagh (on Strangford Loch) in Ireland from where he wrote to his nephew concerning the management of his cattle park at Netherlaw (Dundrennan parish). 57 After Robert's death in 1693, his brother Thomas (who was a lawyer) seems to have inherited the Irish lands. After Thomas Maxwell died, his widow Isabel Neilson (a niece of Robert Neilson of Barncallie) married Patrick Heron (1672- 1761) of Kirroughtrie in 1721. McKerlie gives the details:
On the 5th August 1715 Thomas Maxwell had sasine [of Cuil, Buittle parish]. He was a lawyer, and his actions tarnished his reputation. He married Isabel, daughter of [William] Neilson, merchant, Dumfries, brother to the laird of Barncalzie. He had no family, and at his death his widow married Patrick Heron of Kirouchtrie, parish of Minnigaff. Among other things he had the estate of Ballycastle, Londonderry, Ireland, conveyed to him in trust by his cousin Sir George Maxwell of Orchardtoun, parish of Rerwick, giving a bond that he would convey it back to Sir George in liferent; to his wife, Lady Mary, Dowager Viscountess Montague, if she survived him ; then to the Earl of Nithsdale and his heirs male; and failing them, to the third son of the Earl of Traquair. However, instead of adhering to this, along with Cuil he conveyed the lands not his own to his wife Isobel Neilson on the 14th October 1720. "The Laird of Cool’s Ghost" was the subject of a small chap-book.58

It has not been possible to trace the subsequent history of these Irish lands. For the purposes of this study, it is sufficient to show that during the seventeenth century there were Galloway landowners who also owned lands in Ulster. Although direct evidence that cattle from these particular Irish lands continued to pass through Galloway to England after the prohibition of such imports in 1667 is lacking, there is evidence that Irish cattle continued to pass through Galloway en route to England. As Whyte explains
In 1697, Sir George Campbell of Cessnock in Ayrshire was gven permission to mport 60 cows and bulls..from Ireland for breeding. About the same time Lord Basil Hamilton was allowed to bring in 120 Irish cattle to help stock the great park of baldon near Wigtown. Other licences had been granted at earlier dates, with the provision that the propietors concerned did not sell the animals direct to England. The restrictions imposed by the Privy Council were sufficient to encourage some people in the South-West to smuggle Irish animals into the country, although it is probable that this was done for direct sale rather than breeding.59

Whyte supports the smuggling allegation by noting that in 1669, the Privy Council fined Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon £200 sterling for importing 1300 Irish cattle with an additional fine of £130 sterling for selling some of these cattle in England.60 In January 1669, Sir Robert Maxwell of Orchardton seized 36 Irish nolte (cattle) from Archibald Little, an Irish drover. In November 1669, 75 Irish cattle belonging to Cuthbert Graham were seized by Samuel Maxwell of Newlaw (Dundrennan parish).61 In 1698, Arthur Fergussone, an Irish drover from Pillshaskie in County Derry was pursued for damage done to the crops of William Clerk, tenant of Strahanna farm in Dalry parish.62

It is possible that after the three smuggling incidents recorded in 1669, smuggling became less prevalent. Alternatively, political factors may have been an influence. Symson lists the Earl of Galloway, Sir William Maxwell, Sir Godfrey McCulloch, Sir James Dalrymple and the Laird of Logan as landowners who followed Sir David Dunbar's example and built cattle parks.63 All of these landowners were Stuart loyalists and /or Episcopalians. The title 'Earl of Galloway' was created for Alexander Stewart by James VI and I in 1623. In 1654 James Stewart, 2nd Earl of Galloway, was fined £5000 sterling under Cromwell's Act of Grace and Pardon for his support of the Stuarts.64 James married Nicolas Grierson, sister of the anti-Covenanter Sir Robert Grierson of Lag. Their son, Alexander, 3rd Earl of Galloway( who inherited in 1671) was therefore Lag's nephew. Alexander Stewart was an Episcopalian who, along with Sir David Dunbar and his son, gave refuge to Andrew Symson when he had to take refuge from his Presbyterian parishioners in a 'quiet lurking place'.65 Sir William Maxwell of Monreith was also an Episcopalian. William's elder brother John Maxwell was a Presbyterian and Covenanter who was one of the instigators of the Dalry (Pentland) Uprising of 1666. After the defeat of the uprising at Rullion Green, John Maxwell fled to Ireland where he died in 1668. After the death of his father in 1670 and his nephew (John Maxwell's son) in 1671, William Maxwell the Episcopalian inherited Monreith. In 1668 he married Johanna, daughter of Patrick McDowall of Logan (Symson's Laird of Logan). In 1681 Charles II made him a baronet of Nova Scotia.66

In 1683, along with Sir Robert Grierson of Lag, Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon and Hugh McGuffog of Rusco (Patrick Heron's cattle trading partner),Sir Godfrey McCulloch of Myreton was appointed to administer the Test Act of 1681 .67 The Test Act was essentially an oath of loyalty to the Stuarts designed to isolate Presbyterian supporters of the Covenants, or, as McKenzie put it, the Test Act:

ordained that all individuals filling public situations, or those whom the Government suspected of disaffection, should be required to take an oath (somewhat contradictory in itself) which virtually obliged them to submit to oppression - implicitly to acquiesce, even in the overthrow of the Protestant faith, - and cordially sanction any measure the sovereign might wish to accomplish. This oath was viewed as the evidence of loyalty - the open avowal of passive obedience...The Earl of Argyll refused to take the oath, without a qualification, and would have suffered death on that account, had he not escaped: he joined the Earl of Stair and Fletcher of Saltoun in Holland – to which country they had fled from the deplorable despotism which existed in their own land.68

Thus, with the later exception of James Dalrymple, (McKenzie's 'Earl of Stair'), all of the landowners Symson noted as having cattle parks were Stuart loyalists. Furthermore, in April 1684, Sir Robert Grierson of Lag was appointed to 'search for, seize and apprehend all Irish victuall and shall be imported from Ireland.”.69 But where the Irish cattle in question belonged to a fellow Stuart loyalist, for example Richard Murray of Broughton and Donegal – who had been “appointed Commissioner to execute the laws against nonconformists in August, 1677”70 - or were in a cattle park belonging to William Maxwell of Monreith or David Dunbar of Baldoon; how would Sir Robert Greirson of Lag have responded? Could he have been persuaded that these were Scottish rather than Irish cattle? Under the circumstances, where Charles II and his brother James were convinced that Galloway was a hotbed of armed insurrectionists who had to be forcibly suppressed, keeping the illegal import of Irish cattle by otherwise loyal landowners was unlikely to have been a priority. Turning a blind -eye to such illicit imports may even have been accepted as a 'sweetener' or pay-off which helped to keep important landowners loyal to the Stuarts.

Before proceeding to the religious and political background to the Galloway Levellers Uprising of 1724, the following is a summary of the land use and land ownership questions discussed above. The central question is posed by Woodward 's finding “that Scottish [cattle] producers failed to take advantage of favourable market conditions created by the 1667 ban on Irish stock.” 71 Given that Woodward goes on to note the importance of Galloway in the seventeenth century Scottish cattle trade, the question becomes - why did Galloway's cattle producers fail to take advantage of the 1667 English ban on the import of Irish cattle?

Part of the answer may be provided by Oram's observation that medieval farming in Galloway was “a complex pattern, where systems of transhumance that supported a pastoral economy geared in some areas principally towards dairying were juxtaposed with zones of intensive arable cultivation..[which]survived down to the early nineteenth century.” 72 This might suggest that such a subsistence/ self-sufficient method of farming could not be easily transformed into an agricultural system geared up to producing a surplus of cattle for export. On the other hand:
English proprietors [in Ulster] had such a poor opinion of the economic prowess of Scots tenants that they preferred to retain existing Irish cultivators...since the agrarian expertise of the farming population of lowland Scotland was not significantly more advanced than that of native Irish cultivators....Both people were expert in pastoral farming, which was concentrated on the upland, and cultivated significant quantities of grain, especially oats, on the more fertile lowland...73
This suggests that there was very little to distinguish seventeenth century farming practice in Ulster from seventeenth century farming practice in Galloway. The Plantation of Ulster did not bring about a radical change in land use, but it did transform land ownership and land management, creating a system geared towards profitability rather than subsistence. The export of cattle to England was a significant aspect of this change. If the economies of Ulster and Galloway had been separate, and if Galloway had been free from religious and political conflict between 1660 and 1688, then a greater expansion of Galloway's cattle trade could have been achieved. But, as a direct consequence of the Plantation, Galloway's economy was closely linked to that of Ulster and, partly as an unintended consequence of the Plantation, Galloway and Ulster's religious and political tensions and conflicts were no less intimately connected.

The combined impact of these factors produced the 'under-development' of Galloway's seventeenth century cattle trade. The English ban on the import of Irish cattle had a direct impact on Galloway landowners, like Richard Murray of Broughton, who also had estates in Ulster. It also had an indirect impact on landowners, like Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon and Sir William Maxwell of Monreith, through whose cattle parks the Irish herds had passed. Significantly, these landowners were also Stuart loyalists with Episcopalian rather than Presbyterian sympathies. Although indisputable evidence is lacking, it is plausible that in 1684, when Sir Robert Grierson of Lag was tasked with suppressing the Irish cattle trade at the same time as he was engaged in suppressing field conventicles, he pursued the latter more vigorously than the former.

If this was so, then the economic impetus towards expanding Galloway's indigenous production of cattle would have been lessened. Even if some landowners had decided to adopt such a policy, the unsettled condition of Galloway in this period would have created practical obstacles. When, after 1688, the Herons of Kirroughtrie did expand indigenous cattle production in Minnigaff parish, the process had (according to the Galloway Levellers) a depopulating effect. If Stuart supporting Episcopalian landowners had attempted to replace Presbyterian tenants and owner -occupiers with cattle after 1667, whereas effective opposition to the Stuarts had, by 1687, been reduced to that of James Renwick and the Cameronians' “poor, wasted, misrepresented, remnant” 74, given the situation of the time, any resulting Galloway Levellers style response would probably have been more like the mass insurrection of the Catholic population of Ulster in 1641 rather than the more limited uprisings which actually occurred in Galloway in 1666 and 1724.