1684: Interrogations of parishioners

Throughout October 1684, ministers and parishioners across Ayrshire were called to Ayr where they were interrogated (questioned). In essence the parishioners had to depone (swear under oath) and give names to the authorities of any fellow parishioners that were involved in non-conformist activities such as – failing to attend church, failing to have children baptized at church, attending conventicles.

On the 17th October 1684, it was the turn of the parishioners of Cumnock (Old and New). The records of these interrogations begin with Samuel Nimmo, the Episcopalian minister (or curate) of the parish of Cumnock and his references to a series of lists that he had to provide –

  • a list of elders and deacons,
  • a list of heritors (i.e., landowners),
  • a list of parishioners,
  • a list of those parishioners who do not attend church or do not have their children baptised.

Although only the list of heritors appears under Nimmo’s testimony,  the names of the parishioners subject to interrogation and the names of fellow parishioners that they in turn have identified as non-conformists have survived and are given below.

Nimmo’s testimony also reveals that he was appointed minister of Cumnock in 1670 (prior to this research the earliest reference to Nimmo at Cumnock was 25th April 1673 [Rev. Warrick, ‘A History of Old Cumnock’]. 

Despite having been the minister for 14 years, he swears that ‘he durst never venture to give the communion till April last’, i.e. 1683. It is perhaps no coincidence that it was around this time that Hew Crawford, the Covenanting minister of New Cumnock was banished from the kingdom for ‘keeping conventicles‘. Following the death of John Cunynghame, Old Cumnock’s Covenanting minister in 1678, Crawford would assume the mantle of the Covenanting minister of the newly reformed parish of Cumnock, and in the eyes of many parishioners their true minister.

Nimmo also makes reference to the aforementioned Proclamation of May 1684, stating that he knows of no rebels within his parish except such as those that are in the printed fugitive roll. The purpose of the government interrogations in October was clearly to add to this roll, in preparation for further persecution of the parishioners of south-west Scotland. 

Samuel Nimmo, Minister of parish of Cumnock
Master Samuel Nimmo, minister of Cumnock, of the age of fourty years, marrried, being solemnly sworn and interrogate, depones that the list of his elders and deacones are as followes:-
[a blank here].
 
“Depones that the list of his heretours are as followes:-
“Earle of Dumfries, Laird of Craigie, Laird of Cesnock, younger, Laird of Gaitgirth, elder, John Campbell of Horsecleugh, Laird of Carletoun, Laird of Borland, Laird of Glasnick, Laird of Logan, Laird of Dalegles, Hew Dowglas of Garrallan
 
“Depones that the list given in and signed by the deponent is the trew list of his parichoners, according to his knowledge.”
“Depones that the list given and signed by the deponent the trew list of such as come not to church or who keep their children up from being baptized so far as the deponent knowes.”
“Depones that he is very well pleased with his sessioun, excepting four or fyve called…………………………., who refused to accept when they were invited therto by the deponent.”
Depones that he hes bein minister at Cumnock thir fourteen years last, but durst never venture to give the communion till Aprile last, and the names of these who did participate thereof is given in ane paper and signed by the deponent’
“Depones that he knowes of no chaplains within his paroch.”
“Depones that he knowes of no residenting chapmen within his paroch.”
“Depones that he knows of no rebels nor resetters of them within his paroch except such as are in the printed fugitive rool.”
“Depones that he knowes of no wyves or weadowes of rebells, residenters within his paroch. This the deponent declares to be of truth, as shall answer to God. (Signed) M.S. Nimmo, minister'”
 
Air, 17 October, 1684
Courtesy of Dane Love
HERITORS (Landowners)Notes (R.Guthrie)
Earle of DumfriesWilliam Crichton, 2nd Earl of Dumfries
Laird of CraigieThe parish of Craigie Ayrshire – ancient seat of Wallaces
Laird of Cesnock, youngerSir George Campbell of Cesnock, son of Sir Hew Campbell of Cesnock (near Galston). In the same year (1684) both men were accused of ‘encouraging the rebels at Bothwell Brig in 1679’ including John Gemill in Bank and Patrick Gemill .
Laird of Gaitgirth, elderChalmers of Gadgirth, in the parish of Coylton
John Campbell of HorsecleughHorescleugh in the parish of Old Cumnock. Along with the Laird of Logan he was opposed to Richard Cameron’s visit to Cumnock.
Laird of CarletounWilliam Cathcart held Waterhead Castle
Laird of BorlandHugh Montgomery of Bordland, in the parish of Old Cumnock, [Rev. Warwick ‘History of Old Cumnock’ , relates that ‘the Montgomeries threw the weight of of their influence into the scale against the Covenanters.’
Laird of GlasnickWilliam Campbell of Glaisnock, in the parish of Old Cumnock
Laird of LoganGeorge Logan in the parish of Old Cumnock; kinsman of Charles Logan, (see Charles Logan of Little Maines, below). Along with Campbell of Horsecleugh he was opposed to Richard Cameron’s visit to Cumnock. (See Richard Cameron and Cumnock)
Laird of DaleglesWilliam Craufurd of Dalleagles, in the parish of New Cumnock
Hew Douglas of GarallanGarallan in the parish of Old Cumnock Boig and Lanemark in the parish of New Cumnock.
George Halbert in Little Auchincross
George Halbert in Litle Auchencorse, ane of the elders within the parish of Cumnock, present, upon oath, of the age of 60 yeires or therby, maried, depones that, as to these whoe are contenit in the list given up be the minister of the said parish whoe are absenters from the ordinances, he hes none to add, to his knowledge, and that these are not frequenters; depones that he knoues of none uther that hes baptized their children disorderlie or keepes their childreine from baptisme but these who are contentit in the list given up be the minister; naither cane he be particular as to them but knoues of noe rebells or reseters within the said parish except ane Sarra Mudie in Dalriketmylne; depones he knowes of noe conventicles except one at Braheid in Appryll or May last, but knowes not whoe was the minister or hearers; depones he knowes of noe packmen except ane John Arthur in Loganhill and Robert Hidles within the said parish; depones he knowes of none that has gone furht of the said parish except ane Craufurd of Duregles, and his wyff, whoe duells in Ucheltrie parish for his childreins educatione, and Mr. Hew Craufurd, whoe is banished; depones he knoues noe forfaulted persones therin; depones he knoues of noe chaplandes therein; depones he knoues of none that oficiats in any publict trust not taking the Test; onlie John Fergusone in Cumnock wrytes bondes and such lyk securities; depones he knowes of none that [can] give any beter acompt of the said parish then himself, elders and minister present; all which is the treuth, as he shal ansuer to God. (Signed) Georg Harbert.
Notes (R.Guthrie): Sarah Moodie in Dalriketmylne – the mill on the River Nith below Braehead
Conventicle at Brahead – see later testimony of James Logan in Farden
Craufurd of Duregles – is one the heritors referred to by Samuel Nimmo, the minister, i.e. William Craufurd of Dalleagles
Mr. Hew Craufurd – is the first minister of the parish of New Cumnock who was banished in 1683
Charles Logan, Little Mains of Cumnock (old castle of Cumnock)
Charles Logan in Litle Maynes of Cumnock, of the age of 50 yeirs or therby, maried, depones he cane adde none to the ministers roll of withdrawers from the church; depones that he cane adde none to the number conteint in the roll given in be the minister of these whoe both not regularlie baptise their childreine, except William Wattsone in Maynes of Cumnock; depones that, to the best of his knouledge, John and George Hutchesons in Dallgig are gone furth of the parish about ane yeire since, but knowes noy quher they are gone to, but that they were disorderly persones; depones he knowes James Boill, pack-man, and for the rest depones idem with George Halbert, quhich is the treuth, as he shall ansuer to God. (Signed) Char. Logane.”
The Hutchison family held Dalgig and according to local tradition Hugh Hutchison witnessed the martyrdom of the Covenanters on Carsgailoch Hill. (See Traditions of the Covenanters).
 
Interestingly Charles Logan, does not mention his son-in-law, Patrick Gemmil,  signatory of the Sanquhar Declaration and a fugitive with a price on his head, dead or alive (See Testimony of John McKnight in Cumnock Mill)
William Craufurd in Brockloch
William Craufurd in Brockloch, present, upon oath, of the age of 40 yeires or therby, maried, depones that he adds onlie to the roll givne up be the minister anent the persones whoe frequents not the ordinances the following persones, viz. :- Andrew McCrone in Boige, his wyffe and familie, Hew McRea in Bank, his wyff and familie, John McRea their and his familie, Margaret Craufurd ther, Joanet Dalyell in Bogge and her familie, Robert Howatsone in Laglaff and his familie, Joanet Andersone in Donshill. Depones that the said John and Hew MCreas have ilk ane of them ane child unbaptised; depones he knowes ane Joanet McMichall in Bank, a fugatives relict, whose husband was killed att Airs Mosse; depones as to the rest of the articles idem with the former, quich is the treuth, as he shall ansuer to God. (Signed) Willem Crafourd  
Notes (R.Guthrie): Possibly the most interesting of the interrogations in particular with respect to the revelation that Joanet McMichall’s husband was killed at Airds Moss, i.e. John Gemmel of Bank (See John Gemmel)
Patrick Craufurd in Cumnock
Mr Pattrick Craufurd in Cumnock, of the age of 37 yeirs or therby, maried, depones he cane adde none to the former that are delinqents fra the church, and depones idem wiuth the former and ades ane James Mitchell in Cumnock ane packman and that Mr John Halbert in Cumnock is forfaulted, quhich is the treuth, as he shall ansuer to God. (Signed) P.Crafurd.”
Notes (R.Guthrie):
Mr John Halbert, probably related to George Halbert in Little Auchincross (see above). The title ‘Mr’ indicates that he was a minister, and was forfeited for being present at Clock Lownie in the parish of Cumnock, when some men were exercising arms [‘The History of Old Cumnock’, Rev.J. Warwick].
 
James Mitchell appears in the proclamation of May 1683 and may be related to Robert Mitchell shot at Glencairn  in 1685 and /or John Mitchell at Cumnock Mill .(See Robert Mitchell) 
John McKnight in Cumnock Mill
John McNaught in Mylne of Cumnock, present, upon oath, of the age of 45 yeris or therby, maried, depones he cane [add] none to the number of church delinquents conteint in the ministers roll; depones he knoues John Reide in Dunshill and Patrick Gemill, fugatives, but knowes [not] quher they are; depones he knoues ane John Mitchell in the said Millne to have ane child unbpatized, and James Howat in Mossmark to have another child unbaptized, and depones idem with the former as to the rest of the articles, quhich is the treuth. (Signed) John McKnight.
Notes (R.Guthrie):
The Mylne of Cumnock is the Mill of Mossmark in what is now the parish New Cumnock, a mill which the McKnights have a long association with.
 
Patrick Gemill , was a signatory of the Sanquhar Declaration and was shot by government troops at Midland Farm in the parish of Fenwick, and is buried in Fenwick Kirkyard.
George Hutcheson in Netherthird
George Huthcesone in Naitherthrid, present, upon oath, of the age of 60 yeires or therby, maried, depones he knowes of none that frequents not the ordinances except the goodwyf of Horsecleugh, who is old and infirme; depones of none that hes not baptized their childreine regularlie except these conteint in the ministers roll and Andrew Greir in Bentstoun, whoe hes ane childe unbaptized, and as to the rest of the articles depones idem with the former, quhich is the treuth, and cannot wryt.
Notes (R.Guthrie): The goodwyfe of Horsecleugh is a Campbell, one of the aforementioned heritors of Cumnock.
John Weir in Burnside
John Weire in Burnside, present, upon oath, of 60 yeris or therby, maried, depones idem with Hutchesone, quhich is the treuth, as he sahle ansuer to God, and cannot wryt.
John Ferguson in Cumnock
John Fergusone in Cumnock, present, upon oath, of the age of 40 yeirs or therby, maried, depones he cane add non to the ministers roll of church delinquents except Agnes Scott, spous to Andrew Weire in Cumnock, and Joanet Campbell ther, depones he knoues none that baptize irregularlie, depones he knoues James Reide in Cumnock, James Johnstoune, William Thomsone and James Mitchell there, packmen; depones he knoues the Laird of Logane and Mr William Craufurd to have gone out of the parish; and for the rest of the articles depones idem with the former, quhich is the treuth, as he shall anseur to God, and addes that it is 3 or 4 yeirs since Logane and Mr William Craufurd went out of the parish. (Signed) Jo. Fergussone
Notes (R.Guthrie): In what is now the parish of Old Cumnock
Hugh Montgomerie of Borland
Hew Montgomerie of Bordland, present, upon oath, of the age of 36 yeirs or therby, maried, depones he knoues noe irregular baptizms or persones that keepes not the ordinances and for the rest of the articles depones idem with Fergusone, quhich is the treuth, as he shall ansuer to God (Signed) H. Montgomerie.
Notes (R.Guthrie): Borland in the parish of Old Cumnock
Hugh Douglas of Garallane
Hew Douglas of Garallane, present, upon oath, of the age of 36 yeirs or therby, maried, depones idem, quhich is the treuth, as he shall ansuer to God. (Signed) H. Douglas.
Notes (R.Guthrie): Garallane in the parish of Old Cumnock.
Boig and Lanemark in the parish of New Cumnock.
James Logan in Farden
James Logan in Fardine, present, upon oath, of the age of 40 years or therby, marries, deponds that Sara Camble, Marey Nisbett, Jannet Diell in Boge doe nott keepe the church; deponds that George Brown in Aghengee hath a childe not baptised by the minister, John Slowan had two childeren and John Vallence, fugitive, had likewis two childeren baptised at the conventicle at the Braie Heid, and ads nothing to the above writen, which is truth, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) James Logan
Notes (R.Guthrie):
Another reference to the conventicle at Braehead
John Vallence, fugitive – John Valang was one of the signatories of the Sanquhar Declaration 1680 and had a price of 1000 merks placed on his head, dead or alive but he was from the parish of Auchinleck and died of wounds received during the Battle of Airds Moss in July 1680
John McCowan in the Mains of Borland
John McCowan in the Mains of Borland , present, upon oath, of the age of 65 years or therby, maried, deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God (Signed) John McOwn
Notes (R.Guthrie): In the parish of Old Cumnock
Robert Crichton in Craigman
Robert Craightown in Craigman, present, upon oath, of the age of 62 years or therby, married, deponds that Sara Fleming in McKnight keeps not the church and deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) Robt. Craightown
Notes (R.Guthrie):
Robert Crichton’s  son, John Crichton  was a fugitive and was a signatory of the Sanquhar Declaration 1680 and a price of 1000 merks placed on his head, dead or alive, at which time he was described as ‘sone to Creichtoun of Auchintench, now in Waterhead’.  He also  appears as Crichton of Craigman in the Proclamation of May 1684 ‘for the apprehensions of persons, who were supposed to be under arms’
 
Sara Fleming in McKnight – i.e. Maneight
George Hutchison in Darrigging
Georg Hutchison in Darrigging, present, upon oath, of the age of 85 years, deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God.
Notes (R.Guthrie): Darrigging ?? – maybe a misreading of Dalgig, which was held by Hutchisons
William Murdoch in Orchardtown
William Mordogh in Orchardtown  present, upon oath, of the age of 62 years , deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God. 
Notes (R.Guthrie): Parish of Old Cumnock
John Stillie in Whitehill
John Stillie in Whithill, present, upon oath, of the age of 60 years or therby, deponds that Georg Tempeny, fugitive, and his wife keeps not the church, and deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) John Stilli.
Notes (R.Guthrie):
George Timpany – unable to find his name in any proclamations
William Stillie in the Old Castle of Cumnock and Alexander Stillie in Townhead of Cumnock appear in Proclamation of May 1684
George McCartney in Maneight
Georg McCarteney in McKnight, present upon oath, of the age of 50 years or therby, deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God.
James Howatson in Ashmark
James Houtisson (sic) in Ashmarke present, upon oath, of the age of thirtey years or therby , deponds that Jannet Blacke in Laigh keeps not the church; deponds that John Grier in Achengee had a childe baptized at Breheid, and deponds idem with  the rest, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) James Howatsone
Notes (R.Guthrie): Another reference to conventicle at Braehead
Thomas Bell in Geult
Thomas Bell in Geltty, present, upon oath, of the age of 50 years or therby, maried, deponds that John Halbert’s wife in Gelt, John Shaw and his wife in Nether Gelt keeps not the church, and deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God.
Notes (R.Guthrie): Parish of Old Cumnock
Andrew Templeton in Holehouse
Andrew Templetown in the Hollehowes, present, upon oath, of the age of 38 years or therby, maried, deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) Andrew Templetown
Notes (R.Guthrie): Parish of Old Cumnock
John Logan in Darmalloch
John Logon in Darmallagh, present, upon oath, of the age of 30 years or therby, maried, deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God.
Notes (R.Guthrie): Parish of Old Cumnock
Mathew Muir in Burnside
Matthew Moore in Burnside, present, upon oath, of the age of 30 years or therby, maried, deponds that he himself hath a child of near a year old nott baptised,, and deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) Mathou Mur
Notes (R.Guthrie): Burnside could be a reference to a number of ferm-toune e.g Burnside of Garrive
Robert Mitchell in Lanehead
Robert Mitchell in Laimehead,  present, upon oath, of the age of 56 years or therby, maried, deponds  idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God.
Notes (R.Guthrie): May be related to Robert Mitchell, killed at Glencairn in 1685 (See Robert Mitchell)
Hugh Wood in Polquheys
Hugh Wood in Porwhise, present, upon oath, of the age of 50 years or therby,  deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God. (Signed) Hew Wood
Notes (R.Guthrie): John Wood, son to Hugh Wood in Lowis appears in the Proclamation of May 1684 
David Stinson in Garrieve
David Stinson in Garrive , present, upon oath, of the age of 60 years or therby, maried, deponds that William Lamey in Garrive hath a child of a year old or therby not baptized, and deponds idem with the rest, as he shall answer to God.
Notes (R.Guthrie): William Lambie of Polquhays appears in the Proclamation of May 1684
References
[1] Henry Paton (Editor), The Register of the Privy Council of Scotland, Third Series, Vol IX, A.D. 1684, P.543-547