Prosecution of Lochwinnoch Non Conformists, 1688.

In 1688 the Glorious Revolution was under way, and James VII/II was soon to be replaced by William and Mary. In this very disturbed period the non conformist Presbyterians or Covenanters stepped into the vacuum and exerted their claimed rights to worship according to their conscience. This included removing from office, sometimes by not too gentle persuasion or rabbling, the detested curates and the conforming ministers who had accepted the Indulgences ( ie rule of the Kirk by the King and bishops).

Lochwinnoch was clearly a hotbed of nonconformity where it seems a large number of  tenants and heritors declined to attend the approved Kirk and did not use the services of the conforming Indulged minister, a William Cunningham. He had as his precentor a  John Davidson who sought to recover fees due to him for baptisms  and marriages. However, in his case he claimed amounts from local families where they had neither requested nor received the services of the local  Kirk, and had probably enjoyed those of an outed minister at an illegal conventicle.

It was a curious thing to do given the circumstances of the time and appears to be a copy cat action of another precentor , Elias Paul in Mearns Parish who had similarly pursued residents for fees. It may have been simply a mad scramble to get whatever they could before they were thrown out of office. In the event neither precentor seems to have stayed around long enough to have his case heard or judgment given. The libel (or statement of case) does, however, provide a useful list of some forty six tenants in Lochwinnoch in 1688.

The libel is a direct quote from Selections of the Judicial Records of Renfrewshire by William Hector, Sheriff Clerk. Paisley, J&J Cook, 1876.


Unto Your Lop:Humbly Means and shews, I, Mr. John Davidson, pre­senter at the Kirk of Lockwinnock, That yr I, as presenter forsd, have good and undoubted right to the dewes ffor babtismes and marriages conform to anc Act of Sessione dated ye … day of May, 1686 Years, Lykas by his Majesties Act of Counsell dated the first day of December, 1687 Years, making Mentione that forasmuch as the Kings Most excellent Majestie has signified that it is his Royall pleasure that ye Clarkes of Kirk Sessions and oyr such Officers, such as readers, secondaries, and oyrs who serve ye regular Church, should not be pre­judged of their rights and accustomed fees and casualities arising to ym ffor mar­riadges and babtismes, bot that the samen since ye date of His Majesties late glorious indulgence and in time coming should he payd to ym. Declaring that they will maintain ye regular Clergie, and such as serve him: And that it is His Royall pleasure that ye samen dewes be payd since ye date of ye sd Act and in tyme coming as formerly by the persons concerned as the sd Act in itself more fully bears. And Albeit it be trow and of verity that the persons after named conform to the sd Act of Counsell be lyable to me have deserted to mary and babtise with ye Incumbent Minister at Lockwinnock, Mr. William Cunynhame, who now serves the Cure at ye sd Kirk ever since the date of the forsd Act of Indulgence, and neither have married or babtised with ye indulged minister, and swa have transgressed His Majesties Act of Counsell, and are lyable to sue for six shillings Scots as my ordinar dewes for ilk babtisme, and sixteen shillings eight pennies for ilk marriadge.”

William Miller in Moorhouse, sixteen shillings & eight pence for ane marriadge.

James Fulton in Auchenbothie, sixteen sh : 8d for the babtisme.

John Pollok in Overtoun, 16 sh: 8d  dew by him for the reason above.

James Orr in Hill, 16 sh: 8d for the reasons above.

James Glen in Gillsyeard, sixteen shillings dew by him for marriadge, as said is. 

James Barklay in ,     16 sh: 8d Sd dew by him for reasons aforesaid.

Hew Montgomenie, Lochwinnoch, 16 sh: 8d for marriadge.

Thomas Bbryden in Hill, ye lyk somme for ye samin reason.

Thomas Cumyng in    16sh: 8d dew by him for the raisons above.

James Tarbert yr, ye same soume for same.

John Paterson, sixteen shillings 8d money for ye lyk cause.

Robert Marshall, sixteen shillings for ye lyke cause.

James Sirret in , sixteen shillings & 8d dew be him for ye cause foresaid.

John Ritchie in , six shillings for Babtisme.

Robert Latta in

Robert Barhour in     six shillings for the same cause.

William Orr in Gilsyeard, six shillings for ye lyk cause.

William Orr in Linthills, six shillings for ane Babtisme, also dewe by him to ye Parsr for ye same cause.

William Neill in Bridgend, six shillings dewe by him for the lyk cause.

Robert Orr in Burufoot, six shillings dew by him to ye Pursr for ane babtisme.

Robert Orr in Cloak, six shillings money dew for ane babtisme.

John Sempill of                       Six shillings money dew for ane Babtisme.

James Cochrane in Kaims, six shillinqs money for ane Babtisme.

James Taylor in Long Croft, six shillings money for ye lyk cause.

Mungo Gavin in Kayme, six shillings for ye lyk cause.

Hew Jamieson in Monabrock, six shillings for ye lyk cause.

John Wylie in Barneth, six shillings for the cause forsd.

Peter Thomson in Barneth, six shillings Scots dew by him for Babtisme.

Robert Blackburne in Sandystone, six shillings money dew by him for ye sd cause.

James Craig in Gatesyde, six shillings money for ye lyk cause.

Robert Wilson in Risk, six shillings money dew by him of babtisnie foresd.

William Fulton in Sproulstonc, six shillings dew by hint for the raison forsd.

John John Robeson in      six shillings money for ye lyk raison.

James Campbell in Rivoch, six shillings for ye cause forsd.

James Orr in Langstilly, six shillings dew by him for ane Babtisme in manner foresd.

John Orr in Hills, six sliillings for ye cause foresd.

William Cochran in Old Yeards, six shillings for ye lyk cause.

John Kirkwood in Lochwinnoch, six shillings for ane Babtisme in manner foresd.

Ninian Tarbert in Mitchelton, six shillings money for ye sd cause.

Robert Cochrane in Town of Auchenbothie, six shillings for ane Babtism.

Wm Orr in Moniebrock, six shillings for ye lyk cause.

Wm Cumming in Mitchestone, six shillings for ane other babtisme.

John Ewing in Hill, six shillings for ane other babtisme.

William Biggart in Walls, six shillings for babtism.

‘‘And albeit it be of verity that I have oft and divers times desayred and re­quired the haill fore-named persons to make payment of yr several sums as above, yet they wrongously refuse, Therefore—”

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