[Scottish National Memorials Contents]
The result of the skirmish at Drumclog – it is only called a battle by custom or courtesy – was the immediate and marvellous increase of the little band of fighting men, which soon became an army in numbers. Unfortunately they were rent by dissension concerning the condemnation of the defections of the time; and consequently multitudes left them, and, worse still, no preparation was made to meet the foe. Ure of Shargarton says, that, on the day before the engagement, ‘We were not concerned with an enemy, as if there had not been one within a thousand miles of us. There were none went through the army to see if we wanted powder or ball. I do really think there were few or none that had both powder and ball in all the army to shoot twice.’1 Nevertheless, the bridge, which had been barricaded, was held for a considerable time against Monmouth’s troops; but after they were allowed to cross, the effect of disunion was more manifest than ever, and soon most of the Covenanters turned and fled. Much of the blame has been thrown on Hamilton. The fugitives were cut down in hundreds, ‘Claverhouse and his troop,’ burning under their recent disgrace, excelling, according to Blackader, in this cruel work until they were forcibly restrained.2 Had it not been for Monmouth’s clemency, the slaughter would have been very much worse. In the words of the old ballad:-
‘They stell’d their cannons on the height,
And shower’d their shot down in the howe,
An’ beat our Scots lads even down,
Thick they lay slain on every knowe.
• • • • •
“O haud your hand:” then Monmouth cry’d,
“Gie quarters to yon men for me;”
But wicked Claver’se swore an aith,
His cornet’s death revenged should be.’
The twelve hundred prisoners were treated with gross inhumanity. Stripped of much of their clothing, they were marched to Edinburgh, and imprisoned in a portion of the Grey- friars’ churchyard – ‘a method of detention,’ says Hill Burton, ‘not practicable without much cruelty.’ The only two ministers among them – John King and John Kid – were hanged at the market-cross of Edinburgh on the 14th of August, a few hours after the King’s indem nity had been proclaimed with great pomp. Other five were hanged at Magus Muir on the 25th of November, to avenge Sharp’s death, although they had no part in it. Meanwhile, about eight hundred of the prisoners had obtained their freedom by signing the Bond, about another hundred managed to escape. There still remained two hundred and fifty-seven, who, after nearly five months’ imprisonment in the open burying-ground,3 were taken to Leith on the morning of the 15th of November and thrown into a ship. As one of them expressed it, ‘all the troubles they met with since Bothwell were not to be compared to one day in their present circumstances’; but, he said, ‘the consolations of God overbalance all.’ They were so closely stowed under the deck that they could scarcely move, and were almost stifled; yet there they were kept for twelve days before sailing for the Barbadoes, where they were to be sold as slaves. The voyage proved a short and tempestuous one. On the 10th of December the vessel was driven on the Moulhead of Deerness in the Orkneys; and the captain, to prevent their escape, secured the hatches, and thus two hundred of them were drowned. A monument has been recently erected to mark the spot and to commemorate the tragedy. Of the ill-fated conflict, on Sabbath the 22d of June 1679, there are many relics.
Large contemporary OIL PAINTING, of the Battle of Bothwell Bridge, by John Wyck. An engraving of the Battle, from Wyck’s picture, in the possession of the Duke of Buccleuch will be found in Kirkton’s History, p. 468.
(394) Lent by the EARL OF ROSEBERY.
ANDREA FERRARA SWORD, taken from the house in Irvine in which Thomas Cunningham, Laird of Montgrenan, lived and died in 1715. After his apprehension, in 1679, he was induced to accuse Lord Bargeny as having been accessory to the rising, but in 1681 retracted the charge as untrue, and in 1683 was found guilty on his own confession of being present in arms at Bothwell. He was condemned to be executed as a traitor, but, having offered to take the Test, was spared.4
(395) Lent by the TOWN COUNCIL OF IRVINE, per JAMES DICKIE.
SWORD of Matthew Craig of Plewlands, who was present at Bothwell Bridge.
(405) Lent by MISS BROWN.
DRUM AND DRUMSTICKS, used by the Covenanters.
(412) Lent by JOHN HOWIE.
1 McCrie’s Memoirs of Veitch and Brysson, pp. 474, 475.
2 Crichton’s Memoirs of Blackader, 1826, pp. 227, 228.
3 ‘A few weeks before they were brought out of this place, some huts made of deals were set up for them, which was mightily boasted of as a great favour’ (Wodrow’s History, iii. 125).
4 Wodrow’s History, iii. 434, 435, 449; Fountainhall’s Historical Notices, Ban. Club, i. 310, 395.