Ayrsmoss 22 July 1680

Richard Cameron`s defiance and declaration of war through the Declaration at Sanquhar in June 1680, raised the stakes considerably and the search for him intensified. His location was given away by an indulged minister, one Millar of Ochiltree, who ran as fast as his legs could carry him to Sir John Cochrane of Ochiltree to disclose the information, probably in hope of the large reward that was on offer. Cochrane being of a calmer and more cunning mind, got Dalziel to send a strong force under Captain Bruce of Earlshall to search for Cameron and party.  On 22 July 1680 about 120 dragoons under the command of Bruce, came across Cameron and about 60 of his followers at Ayrsmoss, near Muirkirk, Ayrshire.  With only 23 horsemen in Cameron’s small force, eight were posted to the right under Robert Dick and fifteen under the command of the redoubtable David Hackston of Rathillet.  As the troopers neared some twenty were seen to dismount and started to encircle to attack from the rear.  A party on foot were sent to intercept while the main group advanced with Hackston leading the fight. 

In the ensuing battle nine Covenanters were killed including the Cameron brothers, and twenty eight dragoons lay on the field - such was the ferocity of the Cameronians` resistance. The Covenanters killed were :

Rev. Richard Cameron.   Michael Cameron.   Robert Dick

Captain John Fowler.      John Gemmel.          James Gray

John Hamilton.           Robert Paterson.    Thomas Watson

Ayrsmoss was a turning point for the Cameronians with the death of their charismatic leader. Richard Cameron`s head was severed and taken as a trophy to Edinburgh where it was first shown to his elderly father who was in prison for allowing conventicles on his land, and then displayed above the Netherbow Gate. Captured also was David Hackston of Rathillet, a gallant soldier and the witness to the murder of Archbishop Sharp on Magus Moor. Hackston suffered death by hanging, drawing and quartering , his hands were struck off and one sent to St Andrews for display, and his head hacked off and placed besides his great friend Cameron above the Netherbow Gate. Subsequently the hand was sent to Cupar where it was interred along with the heads of two other Covenanters who had been executed in Edinburgh 13 July 1681 for being followers of Donald Cargill (the successor to Cameron). They were Laurence Hay, a weaver from Fife, and Andrew Pitulloch, a farmers labourer, from Largo.

The Bond of Mutual Defence 

This is quoted in Thomson`s A Cloud of Witnesses .The document was found upon Richard Cameron which was signed by him, his brother and about thirty others. Thomson says it “justly deserveth to be insert here in its proper room, it being most agreeable to the true state of the testimony which these renowned martyrs sealed with their blood”.

We, under subscribers, bind and oblige ourselves to be faithful to God, and true to one another, and to all others who shall join with us, in adhering to Rutherglen Testimony, and disclaiming the Hamilton Declaration, chiefly because it takes in the king's interest, which we are loosed from by reason of his perfidy and Covenant breaking, both to the most high God, and the people over whom he was set, under the terms of his propagating the main ends of the Covenants, to wit, the Reformation of religion ; and instead of that, usurping to himself the royal prerogatives of Jesus Christ, and encroaching upon the liberties of the Church, and so stating himself both in opposition to Jesus Christ the Mediator, and the free government of His house.

And also in disowning and protesting against the reception of the Duke of York, a professed Papist, and whatever else bath been done in this land (given to the Lord) in prejudice to our covenanted and universally sworn-to Reformation. And although, as the Lord who searcheth the heart knows, we be for government and governors, both civil and ecclesiastic, such as the Word of God and our Covenants allow; yet, by this we disown the present magistrates, who openly and avowedly are doing what in them lies for destroying utterly our work of reformation from Popery, Prelacy, Erastianism, and other heresies and errors ; and by this we declare also, that we are not any more to own ministers indulged, and such as drive a sinful union with them ; nor are we to join any more in this public cause with ministers or professors of any rank, that are guilty of the defections of this time, until they give satisfaction proportioned to the scandal and offence they have given.

camerongrave.jpg (36436 bytes)                 


Mauchline Moor 12 June 1648

Rullion Green 28 November 1666

Drumclog  1 June 1679

Bothwell Brig 22 June 1679 

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