Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Clydesdale Covenanters: Gavin Hamilton of Mauldslie, James Hamilton of Kittiemuir.... and (St) Patrick

Having got a few bits of research off my desk and out of my system I am now back to hopefully finish researching the life and connections of Rev James Hamilton of Ballywalter (1600 - 1666).

The River Clyde rises in the hills near Moffat in the middle of the south of Scotland, and winds its way along a valley close to a number of towns like Lanark, Dalserf and Hamilton before reaching the city of Glasgow. The area was known as the 'Clyde Valley' (spot the Ulster reference in that name) or 'Clydesdale' - today 'South Lanarkshire'.

I have found that two of the Covenanters so brutally executed after the Battle of Rullion Green / Pentland Rising were from Clydesdale - Gavin Hamilton of Mauldslie and James Hamilton of Kittiemuir near Stonehouse - and they were related to Rev James. He had been raised near Mauldslie and Kittiemuir, at the estate of Hallcraig/Halcraig which was then owned by his uncle Archibald Hamilton (Halcraig is long-gone, but the site is today Carluke Golf Club, on the Mauldslie Road). Archibald also bought an estate in Limerick around 1609 when King James I issued the town with a new, Scottish-inspired, charter.

Gavin and James were taken to Edinburgh where history records they were executed on a 10-man gallows. Their hands and heads were cut off - the severed hands were displayed at Lanark (where they had sworn the Covenant just prior to the Battle) and the severed heads sent to the town of Hamilton. The heads were later buried, and the striking headstone shown below was erected in their memory - you can see it at Hamilton Old Parish Kirkyard today, with a plaque beside it installed by the Scottish Covenanter Memorial Association.




In reading about these Hamiltons, and in connecting them to the Ulster Hamiltons, I found an account in a book about the locality entitled 'Stonehouse: Historical and Traditional' (1888). In it, on page 161, is a reference to:

"ST PATRICK'S WELL.– Whether Patrick was a Scotchman or not, it is indisputable that he has left an indelible impression on Scotland, and his name is fragrant in many places to this day... one place in this parish that bears his name is this well, and probably the neighbouring lands of Patrickholm... Patrick's memory still lives in the neighbouring parish of Dalserf, where he is said to have preached; and a grateful people in due time erected a chapel and dedicated it to him at Dalpatrick, endowing it with some land, and where tradition says he at one time resided..."

Over the years of casual reading I have found scores of references to (St) Patrick in Scotland. (Ssssshhh - don't tell the Northern Ireland Tourist Board) Here's an old map of the bend in the river at Dalserf, with Dalpatrick and 'Maldsly' marked on it.



An Aul Han said...

I always enjoy these history posts. They never fail to remind me of how little most Presbyterians know about their past. Please consider collating all these posts into a single publication. How about : From Covenant to Covenant - A history of Ulsters Presbyterians.
Best wishes

King Billy said...

Glad to see the Covenanter posts back.