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The Story Behind "Three Women Called Margaret"

It was about three o'clock in the afternoon of Monday 18th October this year
when I walked along that short board walk over the saltmarsh and opened the gate of the little enclosure.
There is nothing inside except a solitary post, which has as its base a large rock with the inscription
"This rock marks the traditional site of martyrdom."
Nothing else.


The sun was shining on that lovely autumn day even if it was on the chilly side with a strong east
wind blowing. Sheep and cattle grazed unconcernedly nearby, curlews and oyster catchers called
and I was struck as I had been in the past by the beauty of the place which had been the location
of such terrible events.
To my right the waters of the Solway Firth sparkled, the river meandered in front of me and the
bulk of the hill called Cairnsmore of Fleet had its head in the clouds as did the dark Glen Trool
Hills to my left. If I turned around I would see the wooded bank with the town of Wigtown
perched on top and dominated by the parish church and the graveyard.
That is where the graves are - of Margaret MacLachlan and Margaret Wilson.

I knew that I had to write their story down and try to explain a little of who they were
and why they died.
So I had started to read the accounts written at the time and had made this journey
to further refresh my memory of an event that I had known about for years.

Then I realised that it was not two Margarets that I had to write about - but three
for, although Margaret Maxwell was not executed, she suffered too.

Who were they?
They were three ordinary Scotswomen who between them spanned quite
a breadth of their local society in both age and social standing.

The daughter of the well-to-do farmer, the widow of the craftsman and the serving maid.
They had one thing in common - they were Covenanters.

So as not to confuse you, I think it is best that I divide things up a little and explain as I go along.
The links below will take you to the individual pages.

Three Women Called Margaret
Background | Covenanters | Conclusion
Margaret MacLachlan | Margaret Wilson | Margaret Maxwell

Copyright (c) Elizabeth Tolson 1st November 1999

"Show Me Your Ways, O Lord"
(Song based on Psalm 25)


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