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

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

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

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)


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