Martyrs Monument and Stirling Castle Graveyard30th Jan 2015
The Monument was paid for by William Drummond a very prosperous Stirling farmer, landowner and seed merchant. Drummond was a zealous Presbyterian and he determined to commemorate within the graveyard martyrs to the Presbyterian cause, particularly those who suffered during the Restoration period.
After the restoration of Charles II in 1660 the government acted against the more extreme Presbyterians and imposed an Episcopal religious settlement but with significant toleration to moderate Presbyterians. However to zealots this was a breach of the Covenant and they resorted to maintain their position by through illegal conventicles (prayer meetings in fields or houses). By 1680 they considered themselves so harassed that they decided on a Declaration at Sanquhar on the 22nd June 1680.This declared Charles II the anti Christ and as such no-one need obey any laws issued in his name. This was understandably seen as treason by the government and they determined upon an oath of allegiance required to be taken by those they considered suspect.
In Wigtown in 1685, two sisters Margaret and Agnes Wilson along with their friend Margaret McLaughlin were ordered to take the oath in front of the local Procurator.
They refused to recite the oath 'God Save The King' - they believed Charles was the anti Christ and therefore not worth saving.
They were sentenced to death by drowning. The younger sister Agnes (15) had her sentence commuted but the two Margaret’s were tied to stakes in the Solway Firth to await drowning by the incoming tide. The scene must have been truly horrific and distressing as many of their relatives and friends would have turned up to comfort and support them chanting prayers and singing hymns.
The Monument is in keeping with Drummond’s desire to commemorate Presbyterian Martyrs and is one of several in the graveyard.
William, Guide and Son of the Rock