An 18th c. Account of Troubles Religious & Historical.
— Two of the inhabitants of Carstairs appear to have taken, in some way, a more than usually prominent share in the events of the period between the year 1638 and the Restoration in opposition to the Royal cause, as James Brown, in Carstairs, and James Logan, in Strawfranks Farm, who were, by the Act of Indemnity passed in 1662,
[On 9 September 1662 the Scottish parliament passed the Act of indemnity and oblivion. It was a general pardon for most types of crime committed by Scots, between 1 January 1637 and before 1 September 1660, during what the Act calls "the late troubles" (the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and the Interregnum)
Who were excluded from the benefit of its provisions until they had respectively paid a fine of £240 . Mossplat Farm, in this parish, was the scene of the death of a straggling Royalist (Catholic) soldier during the Covenanting disturbances after the Restoration.
Walker, the well-known Cameronian pedlar, gives the following account of this transaction, in which he was an actor: —
"Francis Gordon was a volunteer out of wickedness of principles, and could not keep up with the rest of the troop, but was still raging and ranging to catch hiding, suffering people.
Meldrum and Airlie's troops lying at Lanark, upon the 1st day of March, 1682, Mr Gordon and another wicked comrade, with their two servants and four horses, came to Kilcaigow, two miles from Lanark, searching for Williaim Caigow and others under hiding...
Mr Gordon,rambling through the town, offered to abuse the women.
At night they came a mile farther to the Easterseat Farm to Robert Muir's, he being also under hiding. Gordon's comrade and the two servants went to bed, but he could sleep none, roaring all night for women. When day came he took only his sword in his hand and came to Mossplatt, and some men (who had been in the fields all night), seeing him, they fled, and he pursued.
James Wilson, Thomas Young, and myself, having been in a meeting all night, were lyen down in the morning.
We were alarmed, thinking there were many more than one. He pursued and overtook us. Thomas Young said,
'Sir, what do you pursue us for?'
He said he was come to send us to hell James Wilson, so we said» 'That shall not be, for we will defend ourselves'
He said that either he or we should go to it now. He run his sword furiously through James Wilson's coat. James fired upon him, but missed him.
At the time he cried, 'Damn his soul' He got a shot in his head out of a pocket-pistol, rather fit for diverting a boy than killing such a furious, mad, brisk man, which, notwithstanding, killed him dead. The foresaid William Caigow and Robert Muir came to us. We searched him for papers, and found a long scroll of sufferers' names either to kill or take.
I tore it all in pieces. He had also some Pope-ish books and bonds of money, with one dollar, which a poor man took off the ground, all which we put in his pocket again. Thus he was four miles from Lanark and near a mile from his comrade, seeking his own death, and got it"
In spite of the studied silence which he has preserved on the point, there can be little doubt that it was Walker who fired the fatal shot This, when we remember that his narrative was written after the Revolution, coupled with other instances of evidently intentional ambiguity in the account, deprives its details of much of that reliance which would otherwise have been placed on them as proceeding from an actor and eye-witness.
On account of his share in the transaction, Walker was arrested in June, 1684. After being several times examined by the Council, he was sent prisoner to Dunottar Castle in Aberdeen, from whence he was in the August of the following year, removed to Leith; from whence, however, he made his escape on the evening
of his arrival .
from the Full text of "The upper ward of Lanarkshire described and delineated"
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