This is a copy of a journal by
three generations of Walker's during the rebellions in Scotland. The
journal came to Australia with my husband's great grandfather, John Walker
in 1855, and remains in our family.
COPY OF AN ORIGINAL MEMORIAL DOCUMENT BY
JOHN WALKER SENR.
No. 1 MEMORIAL of the Losses & Sufferings of John Walker Senr. Farmer
in Beanston & Atholstonford, in the Rebellion in the year 1715.
A considerable part of the Rebel Army having been embarked at Fife in
Hoops & Boats to cross the Firth, for the purpose of subduing East Lothian
were, by roughness of the weather, driven east too Scoll before they could
get landed & then came west the coast untill they arrived at Aberlady:
From there they came to Haddington, & severely pillaged the town &
neighbouring country for some days.
The Postroad eastward at that time, lay through Beanston, & Mr. Walker was
Postmaster there; & , when the Rebels came to Beanston, they ordered him
to open his desk etc, which he was obliged to obey & took there from £350
sterling of cash besides innumerable articles of provisions & furniture,
in the presence of his son John, a young man in the prime of life; Every
lap of linen in the house was also taken away besides twelve of his best
This, Mr Walker put up with for some time, but, as the rebels began to be
more numerous, & to treat him very harshly, he went privately away on
horseback to Lord Belhaven, Sheriff of the County of Haddington, at that
time, who then resided at Beil, & told his Lordship he was ruined, as the
Rebels had not left him a shilling, nor any article they could carry away,
besides his twelve horses, which was his greatest loss, as it would
prevent him from tilling the greater part of his farm that year, &, of
which he, Mr Walker durst not complain.
His Lordship took pity on his sufferings & gave him a letter to raise all
the men he could get; & recommending the farmers in the country to do the
same, for the purpose of endeavouring to drive the rebels from Haddington
& the adjacent country. Mr Walker accordingly rode round all the country
with two of his sons-in-law, & his own son, & by the day appointed to meet
his Lordship with the men he could get, on Beanston-muir, at an early hour
of the morning, they assembled to the number of about 2,000 astonishingly
well armed with swords & pistols & all on horseback.
His Lordship accordingly marched the men as far west as the Abbey & there
divided them into two different bodies of 1,000 men each. One of the
detachments he put under the command of Mr Walker & his son which was to
go round by Newmills now Arnisfield, to the southward to prevent the
rebels from going south by the east-port; while His Lordship, with the
other detachment, went by the Post-road to the northward.
His Lordship upon giving directions too Mr Walker to lose no time, & not
to let the men loiter. Mr Walker fired with revenge for the cruel
treatment he had suffered, & enthusiasm for his country, drew his sword &
flourishing it said to His Lordship, he would sooner let his head be
severed from his body than neglect the orders given to him.
Some of the Rebels being lodged in the Tolbooth, an old & high building,
perceived the two bodies & being surprised at such a number, were struck
with a panic & fled precipitately from the town westward by the Post-road.
In the mean time Mr Walker having kept his men at a good pace came to the
cross of Haddington which was the rendezvous appointed. 20 minutes before
His Lordship, without meeting with a single man of the enemy. The whole
detachment he commanded entreated him to let them pursue the rebels & try
to have the honour of cutting them off, if possible, to which Mr Walker
assented, & they set off at a rapid pace.
Mr Walker, sometimes in the van & sometimes in the rear, encouraged his
men, & cried to them “Just as you are, & your face to the “Tranent”, which
is the origin of the proverb in East Lothian to this day. And upon coming
to the westward of Gladsmuir, they had a full view of the rebels who were
there, then going up the brae to the eastward of Tranent. At this moment,
up came Lord Belhaven, galloping on horseback alone & was pretty severe on
Mr Walker for not waiting his arrival at the place of rendezvous. Mr
Walker told His Lordship that the rebels had all fled before he came to
the town, & his men had been so impatient to meet them, & he himself so
fired with indignation at the treatment he had received, that he could not
restrain them from pursuing & now begged His Lordship to let them proceed
forward, in which he was seconded by all the men who cried out they would
venture their lives in attempting to cut off the rebels, but His Lordship
at that time also thought the risk so great that he would not allow them
to attempt attacking such a superior force, & ordered them back to
Haddington to join his detachment. Mr Walker having argued in vain with
His Lordship against these orders, lost all temper at not getting himself
revenged on the Rebels, sprung from his horse, struck his sword to the
hilt in the ground, broke it throu & threw it away. His Lordship begged
him to restrain his temper, for he would take care that he should be
represented to His Majesty who would most certainly refund nim for the
losses & sufferings he had sustained.
Mr Walker however, never got a farthing & Mr Finlay of Drummore, before he
went to the East Indies has heard Lord Belhaven often regret the neglect
he had made of not getting Mr Walker’s sufferings represented to His
Majesty. This was just before His Lordship embarked for the Island of
Barbadoes to which he was appointed Governor & consequently could not get
it done but determined to do it when he returned home, & in all likelihood
he would have performed his promise had he not been lost on the Scilly
Isles in his passage to Barbadoes.
Mr Walker lived for several years after His Lordship’s death & continued
to carry on his different occupations till his own death which happened
about the year 1728, & retrived his affairs considerably, though to never
half the height they were formerly in, as he was before the Rebellion, one
of the most popular farmers in East Lothian
PRIVATE ANECDOTES OF HIS LIFE.
Mr Walker was born with a poetical genius & one of the finest singers of
the age. By these means he became intimately acquainted with His Grace,
John Duke of Roxburgh & Sir William Bennet, who came very often to
Beanston & staid two or three days at a time along with Alland Ramsay, the
famous Scots Poet: Sir William was also a Poet & he sent three large
bundles of his songs to Mr Walker to set tunes to them as he often said
‘Nobody could do them better.’
His Grace & Sir William left each of them a silver cup to Mr Walker’s
widdow as a Testimony of their esteem for his memory, which are in
possession of the family at this time, & Sir William came from the south
of Scotland to Mr Walker’s burial accompanied with Mr Ramsay, but the Duke
being in London attending the Parliament at the time could not come.
END OF NO.1
No.2 MEMORIAL of the Losses & Sufferings of John Walker Junr, Farmer in
Beanston in the Rebellion of the year 1745, when General Cope’s Army
marched from Dunbar to the battle of Preston, & when attending same
When General Cope’s Army landed at Dunbar, for the purpose of intercepting
the Rebels in their march to England, a great scarcity of forage &
provisions prevailed among them, wherefore Commissaries were sent before
to Beanston to bespeak the articles wanted, as the Army was to stop there,
in its march west to take a Refreshment both men & horses: Accordingly,
provisions wine & spirits of all kind were provided for the men, & forage
for the horses were provided by Mr Walker. the Commissaries telling him
that everything they took would be paid for by Government.
Accordingly, when the Army came over the hill of Pencraik where the farm
of Beanston begins, the horses of all descriptions were let loose to feed
on the farm, as they had been almost famished at Dunbar before. Great
numbers of clergy came from all parts of Scotland, & numbers of loyalists
from Edinburgh were also there, whose horses joined with these conveying
the baggage, increased the demand for forage to a great extent. In the
first place a field of oats ready to be carried to the barnyard,
consisting of 9 acres, was swept away in a moment, then a field of oats of
18 acres & 20 acres of beans was also carried away. Then 24 acres of beans
all in sheaves, also was taken away. Then 24 acres of barley in the like
state was also carried away. Then 14 acres of oats in the like state then
30 acres of oats all completely carried away, being in stooks. All these
were carried away or eaten upon the spot, for every baggage cart took as
many as they could carry away, & also all the cavalry - many of the
Gentlemen who followed the Army were seen loading their horses with one
hand & sheaves of oats etc. in the other, to all of which Mr Walker made
no opposition, being assured by these Commissaries that he would be
These transactions were all done in one day, & having struck their tents
next morning, march west for Preston. Ten of Mr Walker’s horses were sent
along with the baggage under the care of Mr Archibald Campbell, Excise
Officer in Linton. It was taken to a Woodyard belonging to Mr Caddel of
Cockenzie & there the horses remained in the yoke while Mr Campbell went
to the battle.
In the morning when the Rebels began the attack & were like to gain the
battle Mr Campbell ran off to Cockenzie to take away the horses
& try to save them for being
taken, & having unyoked them was proceeding home to Beanston. When he was
come to the length of Seton three of the horses were desperately wounded &
were obliged to be left.
He there met two of Mr Walker’s sons, John & William, with guns on their
shoulders who had run away from home at 1o’clock in the morning to go to
the battle. He immediately put one of them behind one of the men on
horseback & the other behind another.
At this time a party of the rebels consisting of about ten or twelve men
who had been despatched after them, were very near, however at length they
gave all up the pursuit, but one who continued it until he came up with
them at Mr Anderson’s gate at St Germain’s Entry where he made a stroke at
John’s head, one of Mr Walker’s sons who was behind the man on the
hindermost horse, but having made a long stretch & missed him his sword
only wounded the horse & he fell among its feet.
By this circumstance they gained about two bullet through in the pursuit
when Mr Campbell took the gun from John & shot the rebel dead. They then
dismounted from the wounded horse who bled to death that night & got home
to Beanston with great difficulty.
Thus it will be seen Mr Walker lost 71 acres of oats, 44 of beans & 24 of
barley, already to be taken to the barn, besides the innumerable quantity
of provisions wine, spirits of all kinds & other articles. Articles taken
away by the Army & also four horses & five good carts for all of which he
did not receive a farthing.
Lord Milton who was then Lord Justice Clerk got an account of these losses
from Mr Walker, & was to get him refunded, but he died a few weeks after
it was given in.
MEMORIAL of the present John Walker – by himself.
In the year 1747, I set about improving the Beanston farm, & discovered a
method in draining by the Pitting way much to the satisfaction of Sir
David Kinloch, & by a far cheaper mode than the circling way which he
begged I would persevere in for he thought it a very great discovery. But
to my mortification, a Gentleman in the south as he understands has got a
premium for the discovery which Mr Walker discovered many years before
that gentleman was born.
In the year 1750 he was petitioned by most of the Noblemen & Gentlemen in
the County to erect a Brewery as it was much wanted in the Country, which
he began & carried on to a great extent throughout all the County employed
no less than four large malt kilns – one at Haddington, one at
Atholstonford, one at Waughton, & one at Linton, the Malt & Ale Duty of
which brought a monstrous revenue to His Majesty.
He allowed his Retailers to give the poor manufacturers credit to purchase
meal for their families to a very great amount, & he may with safety say
that there is hundreds of human bones in every churchyard in East Lothian
who has tasted of his bounty & mercy. – In the year 1760 General Bergoyne
came down to Scotland with his regiment, he was ordered to encamp on
Beanston – muir, & was recommended by Lord Milton to Mr Walker for a
supply of malt liquor to his camp, which he did with great credit to
himself. By these means, Mr Walker became intimately acquainted with the
General, & used to read to him at his bedside in his tent at 5 o’clock in
the morning & became such a favourite that he pressed him to accept of a
commission & to go with him to Portugal, which was worth a 1,000 guineas
but was obliged to refuse it, owing to the great credit he had rendered
the country & which he could not recover for some considerable time.
After the General’s unfortunate affair at Sarraloga in America, he
returned to London, & sent an Officer of his regiment from London to
Beanston to enquire about Mr Walker & if he could be of any service to Mr
Walker, or his family he would cheerfully do it, & if it was not settled
to his mind if he could come up to London to him & read to, & walk with
him, he would give a genteel sum yearly & leave him a like sum at his
death, which would make him independent, but was obliged to refuse it
although he did not think of meeting with such adverse events as he met
Appealing to the Mayor of Haddington & Clergy thereof, the Honourable
Baron Hepburn, Editor of the Farmers Magazine for his regular, orderly &
The document is incomplete -------
This diary is transcribed to the best of Anita Walker’s ability from a
copy made by another party.
The spelling is how the copy was spelt.
The diary seems to be historically accurate, as there was a General
Bergoyne who was defeated at the Battle of Saratoga in America in 1777
(the diary says Sarraloga) according to World Book Encyclopedia.
There also was a Sir General John Cope who travelled from Dunbar to the
Battle at Preston Pans in 1745.
Some of the other mentioned people I haven’t been able to find record of,
but they are possibly in the more local East Lothian records.