(for Machen family)
of the Seventeenth Century
Covenanters Risings / Civil War / Jacobite Rebellion
by Elroy Christenson
Banishment to the colonies was originally only possible if convicted of a major crime by the Scottish Privy Council. In 1671 the Court of Justiciary was given the same power. Several events brought great numbers of banish persons to the colonies. The aftermath of the Scottish Civil War sent thousands of soldiers as prisoners to Virginia, New England, and the West Indies. In May of 1656 some 1200 were shipped out of Scotland by Cromwell rule.
Calvinism made great inroads into the souls of the Scots under the preachings of John Knox in the late 1500's. He believed as John Calvin that the world was divided into the elect and the damned. The Roman Church was to him, a "harlot .. altogether polluted with all kinds of spiritual fornication." He also detested women rulers of Europe, and in particular, Mary Queen of Scots. By 1638 Protestantism had taken a firm hold with Scottish ministry and laity signed the National Covenant. This Covenant reaffirmed the Presbyterian faith and ritual which was counter to the new canon being imposed by the English King Charles. The new Covenant urged that the local church was separate from the state. It enforced an auster rule of church law centered around the maintaining of the sabbath. Church members were publicly reprimanded for such actions as working, even carrying water on the sabbath. They also believed that oaths of loyalty should only be given to God not to man or government, and especially not to an English king. Charles ordered the dispersal of the Glasgow Assembly which was charged with treason and sent a 21,000 man army to Scotland. The so called "Covenanters" raised an army of 26,000 men of nationalistic and religious fervor. The Covenanter Risings ended in many being killed and some 1700 men and women were banished to the plantations of the colonies.
The Covenanter Uprising became part of the larger Civil War which involved three nations and four faiths. The conference to resolve the religious differences between the Scottish Presbyterians and the Anglican Epicopalians was dragged out for six years. Attempts were made to restore the Roman church in London. Oliver Cromwell took charge of the army and the rebellion. The king and the Royalist supporter put up their own army. Cromwell proved to be the superior general and won several major battles and the frightened king took flight and was taken prisoner by the Scots that he mistakenly thought would still take obey him as their king. He was ransomed for £400,000 by Parliament but felt betrayed and powerless.
After his release the king returns to England
where his armies are again overwhelmed by Cromwell's. The king is taken
prisoner again, this time by Cromwell's army but he escapes again. In
the meantime the English Parliament makes peace with Cromwell and he is
persuaded to turn his army against the rebellious Scots and Irish in
order to save England. The Scots sent countering forces to Liverpool
but each force was overwhelmed by Cromwell's army. Cromwell now dealt
severely with the rebels as he did with the monarchy that he was also
battling. King Charles I is eventually taken prisoner again and with a
"Rump Parliament" Cromwell tries and convicts the king of high treason.
Charles dies under the executioner's ax on January 30, 1649 to moans of
the watching populous.
was now the only minister left alive among the Cameronians. He preached
to vast crowds at field conventicles. In September, 1680, he pronounced
sentence of excommunication on the king, the duke of York, and the
other chief persecutors. But the next year he was captured and
executed. The Cameronians then remained without a minister until the
return of Mr. James Renwick, who had gone to Holland for ordination.
The extreme position taken up by these societies caused the Government
to proceed against the other Presbyterians with greater severity.
the five or six years following Bothwell Bridge the persecution was at
its fiercest. The Duke of York--afterwards James II.--now came to
Scotland, to urge on the work of murder. "There would
never be peace in Scotland," he said, "till the
whole of the country south of the Forth was turned into a hunting
field." It seemed to give this particular Stuart great pleasure to
watch the torments of tortured Covenanters. The country was laid under
martial law, and neither age nor sex was spared. Prisoners were
tortured until they were compelled to accuse themselves of crimes they
comnlitted, and were then executed on their own confessions. The years
1684 and 1685 went far beyond the rest in cruelty and murder. They have
since been known in Scotland as the "Killing Time." The bishops'
soldiers were sent out over the country empowered to kill all
Covenanters. Those whom they met were required to answer the following
questions: "Was Bothwell Bridge rebellion? Was the
killing of the archbishop of St. Andrews murder? Will you pray for the
king? Will you renounce the Covenant?" As a great majority of the
western Lowlanders could not truthfully answer any of these questions
in the affirmative, and a negative answer involved immediate death, the
defenceless people were slaughtered by thousands.
every burial-place in the western Lowlands of Scotland contains the
graves of Scottish martyrs who refused to perjure themselves when these
questions were put to them. Thousands of men, women, and children were
thus sacrificed to the malignant fury of the bishops. [Hanna. p. 461-3]
Some of the Burn, Wood and Clyde families apparently fought on the same side and were martyred for their cause on November 25, 1681. A grave stone that lay buried in a corn field near Magus-muir was the gravestone of Thomas Burn, James Wood, Andrew Sword, John Waddel and John Clyde. It reads as follows
'Cause we at Bothwell did appear,Perjurious oaths refused to swear;
'Cause we Christ's cause would not condemn,
We were sentence'd to death my men,
Who rag'd against us in such fury,
Our dead bodies they did not bury;
But upon poles did hing us high,
Triumph of Babel's victory.
Our lives we feared not to the death,
But constant prov'd to the last breath.
statue on his tombstone
photo courtesy of Brian Orr
One of my own ancestors, the Reverend John Renwick who came to South Carolina in 1750, came from Scotland by way of Ireland where his father or grandfather, James Renwick, had been the last Covenanter leader to be executed. He was hanged in Grassmarket Square in Edinburgh on 17 February 1688. His head was then cut off along with hands, they were tied together in a praying pose and hung over Netherbow Gate, one of six gates into Edinburgh.
The records of Scots Banished to the American Plantations list:
|Marshall, John - *
Smith. Glasgow. Covenanter. Banished to the Plantations in the Indies 13 June 1767.
| Marshall, John*
Shotts. Covenanter. Prisoner in Glasgow Tolbooth. Banished to the Plantations, at Glasgow June 1684. Transported from the Clyde to America on the Pelican by Walter Gibson, merchant in Glasgow, June 1684
| Marshall, Thomas*
Shotts. Covenanter. Prisoner in Glasgow Tolbooth. Banished to the Plantations, at Glasgow June 1684. Transported from the Clyde to America on the Pelican, by Walter Gibson, merchant in Glasgow, June 1684
| Marshall, William*
Prisoner at Edinburgh, Canongate and Leith to East New Jersey by George Scott of Pitlochie on the Henry and Francis, master Richard Hutton, 5 Sept. 1685
| Renwick, John
Covenanter, res. Barsallock Wigtonshire, tr. 1684 . *
| Burn, John,
Jacobite, tr. 21 Apr 1716, fr. liverpool to S. C. , in Wakefield. #
Jacobite, tr. 29 June 1716, fr. Liverpool to Jamaica or VA, in Elizabeth & Anne, arr. VA - unindentured
There is a family history of the Reverend Renwick was, at least, an ancestor of the last Convenanter martyred in Scotland, Rev. James Renwick. I have no evidence that the Kirkland, Marshall, Burn, Campbell, Bothwell, McDowell, Camp, or Clyde families that came here were forced out of Scotland but they were of Scottish ancestory and did come here about the same time. There are individuals that I listed above which definitely were Covenanters but there is little way of knowing if these are relatives. Great numbers of Scots from these tortured times came to North and South Carolina where settlements of both Scottish and Irish peoples dominated.
Robert Burns "the bard"
All information and photos
included within these pages was developed by the help of hundreds of
researchers. The information here is for the express purpose of
personal genealogical research and is freely offered as long as this
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express permission of Elroy Christenson. Copyright Elroy Christenson