LAMBIE-L ArchivesArchiver > LAMBIE > 2006-07 > 1151739030
From: "Paul Lambie" <>
Subject: The Killing Times
Date: Sat, 1 Jul 2006 08:30:30 +0100
The Lambie's of the 17th century were long persecuted for their religious beliefs. Many horrific events took place and martyr's graves are to be found all over Ayrshire and Lanark. The background to the Covenanter Wars is too complex to go into here but suffice to say that as staunch Presbyterians they were not prepared to accept a decree that the King became the head of the church and so the Covenant was born. Lambie's were active throughout this time and fought at the battles of Drumclog and Bothwell Brig in 1679 in a period known as the Killing Times.
On the 1st June 1679, a large meeting (conventicle) was held at Hairlawhill near Darvel in Ayrshire. These meetings were deemed illegal and the authorities were informed. John Graham of Claverhouse was despatched with 150 dragoons to break up the meeting. The Covenanters had lookouts and were not surprised. The preacher Thomas Douglas despatched the men to fight the dragoons with the words "You have got the theory and now for the practice". Robert Hamilton (with no military training at all) was appointed their leader and marched them towards Drumclog. With 300 poorly armed followers he formed his battle line on the slopes of a hill facing a bog.
Claverhouse expecting to break up a crowd of farmers found a small army lined up in front of him. He sent a flag of truce which the Covenanters refused to accept. He then sent forward 12 dragoons to fire a volley at them, the covenanters did the same. this exchange took place three times but no casualties were incurred on either side. Hamilton sent more men to the edge of the bog and in the crossfire and dragoon fell from his horse wounded. Claverhouse, enraged, sent 30 mounted dragoons to attack the Covenanter force but they faltered on the boggy ground. William Cleland tried to outflank the dragoons on the left, soldiers started to fall, the Covenanters cheered as more and more dragoons became stuck in the bog. John Morton a blacksmith from Broomhill, raised his head against Hamilton's orders and was shot through the neck - the only Covenanter to die that day.
Then with their war cry of "Jesus Christ" they attacked the soldiers. Their standard bearer, Hugh Woodburn and his 18 year old brother George from Loudoun Mains plunged forward across the bog. The dragoons losing Captain Blyth and Cornet Crawford became fearful at the Covenanters willingness to fight and started to break. They turned and fled. The Covenanters gave chase with renewed vigour killing 30-40 dragoons, a Lambie from Ladybrow was wounded in the fight. The few mounted Covenanters under John Balfour charged after the soldiers. William Cleland managed to grab Claverhouse's bridle but support did not arrive quickly enough for him to hang on. Thomas Findlay, a farmer from Southfield, stabbed Claverhouse's horse with his pike but he forced the horse on and escaped.
Local men from Strathaven ambushed the fleeing dragoons and another 12 soldiers fell. A 14 year old trumpeter was killed at what is now known as Trumpeters Well at Caldermill. They scurried toward Glasgow killing Gideon McNaughton, an old farmer in East Kilbride who found himself in the soldiers path.
No quarter was asked for or given by either side and both took prisoners. The dragoon guards left theirs behind and rode off despite orders to kill them all. John King shouted after Claverhouse " Are ye no waiting fer the efternune session!" Robert Hamilton wanted to kill their captives but was persuaded to spare their lives, they were disarmed and allowed to go free. The Covenanters had another five men mortally wounded on the day, William Dingwall was wounded when his horse was killed but was said to be filled with joy at the victory and impending arrival in heaven.
This was the Covenanter's finest hour but it was to go badly for them at Bothwell Brig a few days later.
|The Killing Times by "Paul Lambie" <>|