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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Last of the Galloway Levellers?

John Martin 1710-1801

In the Hornel Library collection (Broughton House, Kirkcudbright) is a notebook kept by John Nicholson (1777-1866) which contains a wealth of material on the Galloway Levellers.

Among the notes is an interview with John Martin who was a 14 year old Galloway Leveller in 1724.John Martin says he was born at Halmyre farm in Kelton parish but was living at Lochfergus farm near Kirkcudbright in 1724 when he took his father's best flail and joined the Levellers. Later he picked up a musket dropped by a nervous fellow leveller, for which he was fined £100. John Martin was also one of a group of 23 levellers who were sued for damages to a dyke in January 1725.

John Nicholson commented that John Martin later became a clockmaker in Kirkcudbright. The photograph is of John Martin's grave in St. Cutherbert's graveyad in Kirkcudbright. The inscription reads

"Sacred to the memory of John Martin, Clock-maker, Kirkcudbright who departed this life October 1801 aged 91 years.Also Margaret McClune, his sppuse who died May 1781.Also their children, John, Roger and Isabella who died in infancy. Also their daughter Elizabeth, who departed this life August 3d 1828, aged 81 years."


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