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Margaret MacLachlan

Margaret MacLachlan was the widow of a carpenter from Kirkinner - she was 63 years old and
lived at Drumjargan Farm to the south of Wigtown.
She seems to have been a typical countrywoman whose faith was important to her and Margaret
was well thought of by her fellow Christians. She was hospitable - especially to those made
homeless by the trouble of the time and she organised meetings in and around her home
in defiance of the authorities.
She resolutely refused to attend the Episcopalian services held in her parish.

Most accounts say that she was actually on her knees in prayer at the house of her married
daughter, Elizabeth, when she was arrested. She was thrown into the prison known as the
"Thieves' Hole"- usually reserved for the worst of felons - where she suffered much through lack
of food, heat, bedding and even light by which to read the Scriptures.
She was frail old woman by the end of it.

On 30th April, the Privy Council in Edinburgh considered a petition on behalf of Margaret
MacLachlan and a reprieve was granted but this was not discovered until several years afterwards.
There is a real mystery as to why it was addressed to the magistrates in Edinburgh and not
to those in Wigtown. Did the Council expect the women to be taken to the capital for trial or did
the Wigtown magistrates deliberately suppress the reprieve until it was too late to be of any use?

On the day of her execution, it is said that she died in silence. Some of the watchers thought that,
because of her weakened state, she had lost consciousness before the water covered her.
It is to be hoped that this was in fact the case.

One stone on her grave reads:

"Here lies Margaret MacLachlan who was by
unjust law sentenced to die by Lagg,
Strachan, Winram and Graham and tied to a
stake within the flood for her adherence to
Scotland's Reformation Covenants, National
and Solemn League. 1685."

Copyright © Elizabeth Tolson 1st November 1999

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

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