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Biggar and the House of Fleming
Chapter XXVI - Historical Sketches of the Fleming Family—Continued

91

THE Castle of Dumbarton, situated on a lofty and precipitous rock, and nearly surrounded by the Firth of Clyde, was in early times deemed impregnable. The use of battering artillery, at the time of which we are now speaking, 1571, was as yet but little known, and a blockade seemed unavailing, after the abundant supplies which the garrison had recently obtained from France. Captain Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill, a keen partisan of the Regent Lennox, was therefore entrusted with the apparently desperate enterprise of taking the Castle by escalade, during the darkness of night. He called to his aid the Laird of Drumwhassal, a skilful and intrepid soldier, and several other men of known courage, particularly a person of the name of Robertson, who at one time had been a member of the garrison, and was intimately acquainted with the fortifications and acclivities of the rock. The party assembled at Glasgow on the 2d of April 1571, and provided themselves with ‘ledderis, coardis, crawes,’ and other necessary implements, and despatched a few of their number to stop all travellers to the west, so that no intelligence of the intended enterprise might be conveyed to the Governor, Lord Fleming. Having appointed the Hill of Dumbeck, within a mile of Dumbarton, as the general rendezvous, they set out by different routes about an hour before sunset, and it was past midnight before they reached the foot of the rock. ‘The geat with the gilteane horn,’ as Richard Bannatyne styles Lord Fleming, and the other inmates of the Castle, with exception of a warder or two, had retired to rest, undisturbed by a single apprehension of an attack, and confident in the protection afforded by the crags and* walls by which they were surrounded. A thick mist had by this time enveloped the top of the rock, and tended still more to conceal the operations of the party below. The 'crawes * were then thrown against the rock, and the soldiers began to ascend the ladders, when the whole gave way, and came to the ground with great noise and violence. Had the sentinels on the walls not been asleep, or utterly inattentive to their duty, the party must have been discovered, and their enterprise defeated. They eagerly listened for a time; but all being still, they made another attempt, and with greater success. Some of the soldiers landed on a shelving part of the rock, where an ash-tree sprung from the crevices, and, by attaching ropes to it, they were able to render very effective aid to their companions below. They had now reached the middle of the ascent; but the most difficult part still remained, and the ruddy streaks of dawn began to appear in the east They fixed ' the ladders once more; but an incident now occurred, which seemed likely to defeat the whole design. One of the soldiers, while climbing a ladder, overcome most likely by terror, was seized with a fit, and dung to the Steps with such tenacity, that he could not be disengaged; but the self-possession and fertile mind of Crawford soon removed the obstruction by causing the man to be tied to the ladder, and turning it upside down. In a short time the whole assailants were at the foot of the walls, which were old and ruinous, and offered no great obstruction. They were now descried by the warders, who gave the alarm, and the inmates at once sprung out of bed, and rushed forth in bewilderment, without taking time to supply themselves either with clothes or arms. The assailants, having torn down a part of the wall, entered at tbe same time, and beating a drum, and shouting ‘ A Damley, a Darnley!’ fell upon the disordered and amazed garrison. Three or four of them were killed on the spot Lord Fleming and several of his retainers hurried down a passage in the rock, and finding a boat, escaped to Argyleshire; while Lady Fleming, John Fleming of Boghall, John Hamilton, the Archbishop of St Andrews, Verac, the French ambassador, John Hall, an Englishman, and the rest, were made prisoners. Next day, at ten o'clock, the Regent Lennox arrived at the Castle, and showed Lady Fleming very great kindness and attention. He gave her liberty to depart, and take with her all her clothes, jewels, . and silver plate. In the Castle were found a large quantity of warlike stores, twenty tuns of wine, twelve chalders of meal, ten bolls of wheat, eight bolls of malt, eight hogsheads of biscuit, and four puncheons of bacon. Lord Fleming found means to escape to France, the Archbishop of St Andrews was beheaded and quartered at Stirling, and John Fleming of Boghall was sent to the Castle of Blackness.

Lord Fleming returned from France on the 28th of May 1572, and brought with him a considerable sum of money, of which the adherents of the Queen stood very much in need. He landed in Galloway, and was met by Lord Herries, the Laird of Lochinvar, and others, who most likely escorted him to Biggar. On the 26th day of June, he arrived in Edinburgh at the head of a detachment of thirty horsemen, and took up his residence in the Castle, then held for the Queen by that stout warrior Sir William Kirkaldy of Grange. A few days afterwards, a party of twelve or fifteen French soldiers, who had been taken in a ship of war, and forced to serve in the King’s army against their will, came up from Leith. Their design very likely was to desert the King’s service, and to take refuge in the Castle. When they arrived at the Tolbooth, they were either opposed by another party, or were overjoyed to see Lord Fleming, whom they seem to have known, and who is said to have been the cause of their leaving their quarters in Leith. At all events, they fired a volley, and one of the balls rebounding from the causeway, struck his Lordship and wounded him in a most serious manner. The author of the ‘Diurnal of Remarkable Occurrents1 says that the gun by which his Lordship was wounded, was only charged with powder and paper, and that the firing of it caused ‘the skalpis of the stanis' to fly up and hurt his Lordship in the legs; but this statement is very improbable, as the mere concussion of the shot was not very likely to split the stones on the street, and make them fly up with such force as to inflict a deadly fround. His Lordship was carried back to the Castle, where he remained till the beginning of September. 'The sext of September,’ to use the words of Richard Bannatyne, 'the Lord Flemyng, wha wes hurt be the Frenchemen which befoir staw out of Leyth, and that by his specialle doingis and meanis, departit this lyfe in Biggar, where he wes careit in ane litter furth of the Castell of Edinburgh; which litter not being able to go furth at the Castell yeat, vDtill the portcullious were raisit, and liftit vp hier, which beand rasit vp, fele doun to the ground agane, and pairt of a spelch therof fieing of, hurt Harie Balfour in the heid, wha efter he had lyne a 10 or 11 dayis, deid the xi of September. And so thair twa have gottin thare rewarde. God gif it be his pleasour that that throw his judgments may be a warning to the rest to bring tham to repentance; but consuetudo modi est mddibilis.’

Lord Fleming, by his wife Elizabeth, daughter and sole heiress of Robert, Master of Ross, left a sod, John, and three daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, and Margaret.

Lady Fleming only survived her husband two or three years. At her death she left a Will, still preserved, in which she appointed her son John, her brother-in-law, John Earl of Athole, and her brother, Thomas Scott of Abbotshall, her executors. It was in virtue of this arrangement that John Fleming, styled ‘ Captain of Biggar,’ on the 25th and 26th October 1578, delivered an inventory of the ‘siluer wark and garments, and vyer thingis’ that pertained to the deceased lady, to John Earl of Athole. As this inventory is remarkably curious and as the articles were most likely kept in Boghall Castle, we give a copy in the original orthography:—

‘In y* first xxvii dosoun viij pair and ane home of gold Item sax grit buttounis four ringis all of gold Tua crimter paciss of leid ane for ane grit chinze and ane uyir for ane small qlk ar in michael gil-bertis handis Item in ane buffet ane siluer lawar Tua siluer caupis ane saltfalt ane luggit deiche Tua chandeleris ane dosane of truncheris ane dosane of spunis sax caruig prikis Item mae of siluer wark Tua coupis ane basin ane brokin saltfalt gilt elevin spunis Item ane ryding clok.ane skirt of blak begayrit w* welnot Tua hamisingis The ane of welnot pasmentit and wrocht wt gold And ye uyir of blak welnot plane Sevin pair of welnot schone This geir aboue writte is put in ane coffer Item ane chapell ruif of reid skarlat cuttit out upoun quhit satene cj* taffitie freinzeit w4 reid and quhit silk aucht tappis of beddis of trie gilt ane pein of purpour welnot .freinzeit wfc blak and reid silk ane round ruifF of blak satene bordourit w4 blak silk and freinzeit w4 blak silk ane miff of gray dalmes pasmentit w4 gold ane blak silk fur curtingis of gray dalmes for y6 said ruif and thre bandis to y* beddis stuipis ane baimis coit vnslevit of siluer <$* fugeirrit welnot ane ruiff of ane bed of grene reid and zallow dalmes and thre curtingis to y samyne ane collat of gray must welnot pasmentit wt siluer and gold ane dok of blak dalmes wt ane collat warrit w4 welnot ane mat of grene reid and zallow taffitie Tua collattis sewit of holene clay* ane wt blak silk and ane uy reid Tua sarkis of holene dayt ane sewit reid and ane uyir blak Tua pokis w4 missiue writingis This geir forsaid put in ane coffer Item ane hamising of blak welnot ane ruiff of ane bed of purpour welnot borderit w4 siluer Thre curtingis of dalmes fussit w4 siluer and silk ane pend of purpour welnot pasmentit w4 siluer four stuipis of y6 same pasmentit w4 siluer ane fute mantill of blak welnot of my ladeis, ane goun of blak welnot w4 ye bodie w*out slaues ane cap clok of blak welnot pasmentit w4 silk ane almay clok of blak welnot freinzeit w4 blak silk and lynit w4 taffitie ane goun of quhit satein ane bodie but slaues pasmentit w4 clay4 of gold ane goun of era-mosie welnot w4 ane bodie but slaues pasmentit w4 gold and siluer ane skirt and slaues of clay4 of gold raisit ane skirt of clay4 of gold and slaues raisit upoun cramosie satein ane ruiff of ane bed of quhit dalmes freinzeit w4 quhit silk ane cap clok of purpour welnot pasmentit w4 gold and reid silk ane pair of breikis of purpour welnot but schankis pasmentit w4 gold and reid silk ane coit of purpour welnot pasmentit w4 gold and silk ane alman clok of blak satein barrit w4 blak welnot and skirtit w4 matrikis ane uy almim clok of dalmes barrit w4 welnot and skirtit w4 matrikis ane skirt of satein cuttit out in doggrane sevin ourlaweris of sarkis w4 ye handis wro4 w4 gold silver & silk This geir put in ye maist coffer ane burd clay4 of domik of dalmes champ w4 ane cupbur4 clay4 of ye same sax saruietis of ye same champ uthir four burd clay48 of dornik champit w4 ane copburd clay4 of y same seven towellis of domik ane uyir burd clay4 of domik ane dosane saruietis of dornik Thre linnig burd clayto auchtene saruietis of linnig speinzeit w4 blew fyve wasching towellis speinzeit w4 blew ane auld copburd of day4 about ye rest ane auld furrin of toddis This geir put up in ane uy coffer Item be y cofferis ane kame caiss and ane auld kimig clay4 about y6 same ane blak buist w4 drawin schottulis Twa cheiris y6 ane* couerit w4 purpour welnot and y6 uy w4 gray fyve stuillis couerit w4 purpour welnot.

‘We Johnne erle of Athole chancellar of Scotland, Be yir pntis grantis y' Johnne flemig capitane of biggar hes deliuerit to us The haill guidis geir claithing and jewellis above specifat con-tenit in yis pnt Inventar qlk ye said Johnne had in keiping qlk ptenit to Umqle dame eli* ross lady flemig and we grant us to have resauit y* same to be keipit be us to y utilitie and proffeit of ye said dame elite baimis [*Herefor we be yir pntis discharge ye said Johnne flemig his air is executuris and aasignais yairof And we bind and obless us To warrand releiff and keip skaithles him and his foirsaidis of y6 same at y handis of quhatsumever persounis havand or pretentand to haif interes yairto for euer and euer] Be yir pnts subscrivit wt or hand in Edibrugh y xxviii day of october the zeir of god (jav&.) thre scoir auchtene zeiris.

John Fleming, at his father's death, was only four years of age. In an account of the state of the Scottish nobility, published in 1583, it is stated that he was, at that time, a youth in the fifteenth year of his age, that his income was small, and that he was involved in debt and trouble, in consequence of the efforts which his father had made in upholding the cause of Queen Mary, and particularly in defending and maintaining the Castle of Dumbarton. A great part of this embarrassment was, no doubt, attributable to the forfeiture of the family estates, by virtue of which their revenues were engrossed either by the Crown, or by some of the partisans of the opposite faction. The Regent Lennox was graciously pleased to allow Lady Fleming, after the capture of Dumbarton Castle, to occupy a portion of her husband’s lands; but this would likely be barely sufficient for the maintenance of herself and her infant family. An Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 1579, ‘ Restorand, rehabilitand, and makand the said John (Fleming), lauchful to enter be brevis to the landis and heretaige sumtyme pertaining to his said vmquhile father, as gif he had deit at our soveran Lordis fayth and peace.’ The following reservation made in this Act, was no doubt attributable to the Earl of Morton, then Regent, and the most powerful man in the kingdom :—viz., that ‘ ye heritable dispositioun of ze landis of Edmestoun to James Earle of Morton, Lord of Dalkeith, &c., nor the soume con-signit be him for the redemptioun of the landis and barony of Kilbocho and disponit to him by reason of escheat, &c., be not comprehendit under this Act of present pacificatioun and restitution.’ Immediately on the execution of the Regent Morton in 1581, the Parliament decided that the clause regarding the lands of Edmonston should be reversed. * Sua that ye said Johne, now Lord Fleming, may bruik and jois the saidis landis of Edmiston, conforme to his predicessouris infeftmentis.’ Archibald, Earl of Angus, as Morton’s heir, laid claim to the lands and barony of Eolbucho, that belonged to Lord Fleming.

Angus’ claim was brought before Parliament in 1587, and it was decided that tbe matter in dispute should be settled by arbitration. The parties agreeing to this mode of adjustment, Lord John Fleming chose the Earl of Montrose and Sir John Maitland of Thirlestane on his side, and the Earl of Angus chose the Earl of Mar and the Master of Glamis on his. The decision seems to have been in favour of the Earl of Angus; for his descendants in 1641 disposed of the estate to John Dickson of Hartree, servitor to Alexander Gibson, younger of Durie.

At this same period, great feuds, as usual, prevailed among the nobility of Scotland, and kept the country in a state of constant turmoil and disorder. James VI., who was a rare compound of silliness and ability, of folly and sagacity, on the 14th of May 1587, assembled all the nobles at Holyrood, and exhorting them to give up their animosities, and to lead peaceable lives, caused them to join hands, and to walk two by two to the Cross of Edinburgh, where a grand collation of bread, wine, and sweetmeats had been provided. Amid salvoes of artillery, and the jubilant demonstrations of the inhabitants, he drank their healths, and wished that they might long enjoy happiness and peace. On the 13th of July following, an incident occurred at the opening of Parliament, which showed that the efforts of the King to establish concord had been of little avail We give this incident in the words of the venerable historian, David Moysie:—'The Parliament,’ says he, ‘ beguid the xiij day of the monethe of Julij, quhair his Majestie accumpanied with his nobilitie red to the tolbuithe of Edinburgh. Bot befoir his vnlooping thaire arrose ane heicne con-tentioun betuix the erles of Crafurde and Bothuell, the lordis Fleming, Settoun, Home, and Innermeithe, anent thaire woites. The Counsell sat thairvpone, and fand that the erle of Crafurde sould have the prioritie of woite, and that the lord Flemyng sould have the woite afoir the rest of the lordis. Quhairvpone the Lord Home challendgit the lord Flemyng with the singular combat, quho wer not suffered to fecht, albeit they were baith weill willing.’

In the month of May 1590, the King brought home his bride, Ann of Denmark, to Leith, and lodged her in the house of Thomas Lindsay. Here the King took all the Danish nobles who had accompanied the Queen, one after another, by the hand, and gave them a gracious welcome to Scotland. Shortly afterwards the King and Queen repaired to church, to give thanks for their safe voyage; and there they were met by Lords Fleming and Hamilton, who escorted them into the place of worship, and sat beside them while Patrick Galloway preached a sermon. In six days afterwards, the Queen was conducted m state to the Palace of Holyrood, amid great manifestations of joy.

Lord Fleming was a great favourite of James VI., and received from him many tokens of his respect. In the beginning of the year 1595, as we have already stated, the King paid his Lordship a visit at his Castle of Boghall, where he remained several days, and enjoyed the sport of hawking.

After James ascended the English throne, Lord Fleming was one of the Scottish noblemen who were permitted to visit the court in London. He was appointed one of the members of the Scottish Council that sat in the English capital; and it was in virtue of this office that he was admitted to the presence chamber in 1607, when the King gave audience to the eight clergymen whom he had summoned from Scotland to confer with him on the state of the Scottish Church, at that time greatly disturbed by his controlling the freedom of the General Assembly, and appointing bishops as rulers in the Church. The prelates, who formed part of the delegation, of course readily came into the King’s measures; but the inferior clergy, represented by the venerable Andrew Melville and his nephew James, would not renounce their opinions, or give up their opposition, and the consequence was, that in violation of everything like honour and justice, they were condemned to perpetual exile.

The King, to mark his appreciation of Lord Fleming’s services and attachment to the throne, created him Earl of Wigton, Lord Fleming of Biggar and Cumbernauld, by letters patent, dated at Whitehall 19th March 1606. This dignity was ‘to last and continue9 to him, and his heirs male of lawful and lineal descent, in all time to come. Lord Fleming, in presence of a number of Scottish barons assembled at Perth on the 1st of July following, delivered the warrant for this honour, under the sign-manual, to the Earl of Montrose, his Majesty’s Commissioner, and received investiture in due and ancient form. In the first place, his banner was displayed, and he himself was brought forward attired in his appropriate robes, and supported by two noblemen; and then, after the ceremony of 4 belting,’ or girding his person with a sword, the heralds, with a flare of trumpets, proclaimed his new style and titles.

The Roman Catholics in the north of Scotland, under the direction of the Earls of Huntly, Angus, and Errol, had, in the early part of 1608, shown considerable dissatisfaction, and a disposition to disturb the peace of the realm* A General Assembly was therefore convened at Linlithgow in the month of July of that year, by the King’s command, at which several strong resolutions were passed against them, and a committee appointed to lay a petition before his Majesty, praying for the enforcement of the laws against Popery. The Earl of Wigton was chosen a member of this committee; and the King, in reply to the petition drawn up and presented by the Earl and his colleagues, said that he * would give order for a Convention of Estates, which should ratifie the conclusions of the Assembly, assuring them that the Church, keeping that course, should never lack his patrociny and protection.’ On the 24th of November, James wrote the following letter to the Earl in reference to these ecclesiastical proceedings:—

'James R.

Right trusty and well-beloved Cosen, wee greete you well. The reporte made to us by the Commissioners of the late generall assembly of the procedingis therin, and of the greate zeale and affection kythed in all sortes of people there, for the advancement of God’s glory, and the suppressing of the common enemy, and also of the happie unity and concorde amongst the clergy, did give us no small joy and contentment, that in this last age of the worlde, wherein errour and superstition abroade had taken so greate rooting, nevertheless, within these our dominions, God hath bene pleased to reserve a handfull to him selfe, who have never bowed the knee to Baal. And as wee acknowledge our selfe (in dewty to our God) bound to be a nursing father to his churche, a protectour to all true professours, and a prosequutour of all the enemyes of the treuth, so they may be eyther reclamed, or then brought to that case as they may be no more feared (since all those who are affected to this Romish superstition may justly be suspected as daungerous subjectes in the estate), so for the better countenauncing of the procediDgis of the general assembly, wee have appoynted a convention of the estates of that our kingdome to mete at Edinburgh, the xxvj of Januarie nexte, to the entent that such thinges as may farder the advaunce-ment of the gospell, and suppressing of the enemy, may be then treated of, advised, and concluded, wherein there shall be no want eyther of our good wille, power, or authority; desiring you hereby to be present thereat, and to utter your loving care and affection to the wele of that Churche. And because wee have appoynted a preceding meeting of some selected oute of every estate, to be at the same place the xxiiij of Januarie before, and having made choice of you for one of that nomber, wee desire you also both to keepe the time appoynted, and to kyth still as yee have done heretofore affectioned, to the advauncement of the religion presentie profest, wherin ye shall do us acceptable service; and so bid you farewell. From our Courte at Newmarket, the 24th November 1608.

‘To our right trusty and well-beloved Cosen,

The Earle of Wigtoun.’

Several other letters, addressed by James VI. to the Earl of Wigton, have been preserved by the family. They, among other things, declare, that the King had special confidence in the Earl’s 1 affection to the advancement of religion and good estate of the cuntrie,’ and therefore call on him to attend certain meetings of Parliament and of the General Assembly, which had been summoned by the King, to adopt measures, among other things, for ‘hinderance of the encreas of Poperie.’ The King was not content with the meetings and deliberations of the Scottish nobility regarding religious matters; but, as is shown by a document addressed to John Lord Fleming, he issued an edict in 1619, calling upon the whole members of his Privy Council in Scotland to repair to Edinburgh, ‘and upon pashe day to convene at the heich Kirk of Edinburgh, and thair to ressave the communioun, efter the maner prescryvit by the ordoure and actis of the last generall assem-blie, assureing thame that sal refuise to do the same, that they salbe deposit from thair placeis in counsall, as unworthie of the trust quhilk his Maiestie hes reposit in thame, by advanceing thame to sa heich a rowme.’ It appears that the Earl of Wigton, when frequenting the court at Whitehall, not only presented petitions to his Majesty from others, but that, like Richie Moniplies, he sometimes embraced an opportunity of slipping into the royal hand ‘a sifflication’ of his own. We have an instance of this in 1613. The Fleming family, at one time, were patrons of the Church of Stobo,* which had four pendicles or chapels, viz.j Dawick, Drummelzier,f Broughton, and Glenholm. It is likely that they had also a right to appoint the vicars to these chapels, at least to Drummelzier and Glenholm, in which they had large possessions. At the Reformation, the rights of the Flemings in these respects had been disturbed, and the Earl of Wigton, of whom we now speak, had received a right to the patronage of the Church of Glenholm from his present Majesty, and had also given to the titular a large sum to secure his consent. The right of the Earl was, however, disputed by one John Gib, who attempted to establish his claim by an appeal to the legal tribunals of the country. The Earl presented a petition to the King regarding this matter, when he was at court; and he now addressed the following letter to his Majesty on the same subject:—

'Most Gratious and Dread Sourane,

At my laite being at your Heighnes Courte, the petitioun preferred by me for the Kirk of Glenquhome was gratiously acceptit by your M&istie, the samen Kirk being formerly giftit by your Heighness to me, whiche nocht the lees in purchessing the Titular's consent to the samen did stand me at no less rate than ten thousand poundis Scottis, as I did particularly signifie to your Maiestie, who then out of your Heighnes most gratious and bountifull dispoeitioun, pleased topromeis that efter a course sould be tane for securing wnto me the Patronage of that Kirk, acquyred by me at so deir a pryce, or then sufficient satisfactioun and recompence sould be gewen me for the samen. And now seing John Gib hathe of lait trovblit me with pursuite in the law, and heathe recovred decreit agones me, I will most humblye intreat your Maistie to be pleased, according to your Heighnes promeis, that said Kirk, without farder trowble, be in my peaceble enjoying thairof, or dew recompance and satisfactioun be gewen to me for the samin. Thus humble crawing pardon for my bauldnes, and praying Almychtie God to encres your Maistie’s happynes with long and happie regne ower ws and blissitnes elswheir, I taik my lief, and, as I am most bound, sail euir remane your Maistie’s most humble serwand and subiect,

Wiqtoun.

Cummbernald, the 6th Oct. 1613.

To the King's his Most Excellent Maiestie.’

We are not aware how this dispute was settled. It is certain that the Flemings claimed, and perhaps exercised, the patronage of the other Tweeddale churches down to the dose of the seventeenth century.

Lord Fleming married Lady Lillias Graham, a daughter of John, Earl of Montrose. Her Ladyship was distinguished for her piety and devotion, and her zealous efforts to promote the prindples of the Reformation. Livingstone, in his ‘ Characteristics,’ says of her, ‘ When I was a child, I have often seen her at my father’s, at the preachings and communions. While dressing, she read the Bible, and every day, at that tune, shed more tears (said one) than ever I did in my life.9 The distinguished John Welch, son-in-law of John Knox, in 1605, addressed a lengthened epistle to her from the Castle of Blackness, in which he was imprisoned for attempting to hold meetings of the General Assembly, in opposition to the edicts of James VI. In this document, which has been printed, he expresses the consolations which he experienced in the midst of his sufferings; refers to the calamities which he anticipated would fall on his native country; vindicates the views which he hdd with regard to Church government, views which had led to his condemnation and imprisonment as a traitor; and declares his readiness ‘ to be offered up as a sacrifice’ for the predous truths which he had maintained. The gist of his opinions on ecclesiastical polity, he says, was contained in the two propositions—that Christ is the Head of the Church; and that the Church is free in her government from all other jurisdiction except Christ’s, yea, as free as any kingdom under heaven, not only to convocate, hold, and keep her meetings, conventions, and assemblies, but also to judge in all her affairs among her members and subjects. Such propositions as these, in the opinion of the King, were rank heresies. He maintained that no Assembly of the Kirk could be hdd without his authority, and under his special control; and, in the end, he came to be of opinion, that the deliberations of the Kirk should be altogether suppressed, as inconsistent with kingly power and prerogative. Lady Fleming, no doubt, hdd the views of Wdch in regard to Church government; while her husband, although remaining an adherent of the Kirk of Scotland, appears to have countenanced the repressive measures of the King. The following entry in the Records of the Presbytery of Glasgow, under date 13th July 1596, shows that he was somewhat remiss in his attendance on religious ordinances in his Parish Church: —‘ The Presbyterie understanding that the absence of my Lord Fleming fra the Kirk of Lenzie upon the Sonday, his Lordship being then at Cumemald, within the bounds of Presbyterie, is the motive and great occasioune of moving his tennants, being parochiners of Lenzie, to byd away fra the Kirk to heir Godis word prechit on Sondaye, thair-fore the Presbyterie ordenis Mr Niniane Drewe, person now present, ordinar minister of Lenzie, to summond the said Lord Fleming, how *one his Lordship cummis in Cumemald, to compeir befoir ye said Presbyterie to answer for his absence fra the said Kirk, and to sik wther thingis as the said Presbyterie sal happin to have to laye to his charge.*

The Earl died in April 1619, leaving three sods and five daughters, and was succeeded by his eldest son John, who warmly embraced his mother’s ecclesiastical opinions, and was as zealous in the cause of Presbytezianism as his forefathers had been in the maintenance of Popery. He married Margaret, daughter of Alexander Livingston, first Earl of Linlithgow, a lady of amiable disposition and great piety, who entered cordially into the religious views and schemes of her husband. They not only attended the ministrations of the settled Protestant clergy, but for some time maintained a chaplain in their own family. The person who acted in this capacity was John Livingstone, a son of the Bev. William Livingstone, a distant relative of the Countess of Wigton, who was first settled at Monyabrock, and afterwards at Lanark. His father wished him to marry and settle on some lands which he had purchased in his former parish of Monyabrock, but young Livingstone’s inclinations were altogether in favour of devoting himself to the work of the ministry. ‘ Now being in straits,’ he says in his autobiography, ‘ 1 resolved I would spend one day before God my alone, and knowing of ane secret cave in the south side of Mouse Water, a little above the house of Jerviswood, over against Cleghom Wood, 1 went thither, and after many too’s and fro’s, and much confusion and fear anent the state of my soul, 1 thought it was made out to me that I behoved to preach Jesus Christ, which if I did not, I should have no assurance of salvation.’

Mr Livingstone began to preach in January 1625, and for some time was employed in occasional ministrations in the pulpits of the neighbouring parishes, and in that of Biggar, no doubt, among the rest. His practice, he says, was to write out his sermons at length, and commit them to memory; but he was led to abandon this practice by an incident which took place at Quothquan. He had agreed to deliver a sermon at that place, on a Sunday after the communion; but he came with only one discourse in readiness, and he had preached it a short time before in the church of an adjoining parish. He observed in the early part of the day that a number of the worshippers at Quothquan had been his hearers in the church referred to, and, therefore, feeling reluctant to preach before them the same discourse, he, before ascending the pulpit in the afternoon, selected a new text, and merely noted some heads of the subject on which he proposed to enlarge. He says that he found more assistance in discoursing on these points, and more emotion in his heart than he had ever felt before, and so from that time he never wrote his sermons at full length.

In the autumn of 1626 he went, by desire of Lord Torphichen, to Mid-Calder, and officiated as the assistant of the aged incumbent of that charge. At the death of this official, which took place soon afterwards, considerable exertions were made to get Mr Livingstone appointed his successor; but this object was defeated by the bishops, to whom he was obnoxious. He resolved to go back to his father’s house at Lanark, but before doing so, paid a visit to his uncle, William Livingstone, at Falkirk; and here he received a letter from the Countess of Wigton requesting him to come and see her mother, Eleanor, Countess of Linlithgow, then on her death-bed. He complied with this request, and the Earl and Countess of Wigton proposed, that as their house of Cumbernauld was somewhat distant from the Parish Church, he should reside with them, and in winter preach in the hall to their household and such of their tenants as chose to attend. • He remained in this situation two years and a half. The Fleming family treated Livingstone with great respect In 1635, when he was married by his father in the West Kirk of Edinburgh to a daughter of Bartholomew Fleming, a merchant of that city, the Earl and his son, John Lord Fleming, honoured the nuptial ceremony with their presence.

In the month of July 1629, an event took place which reminds us strongly of times still more remote, when the grandees very frequently decided their quarrels by brute force. A difference regarding the service to some land having arisen between the Earl of Wigton and the Earl of Cassillis, it was discussed for some time with increasing obstinacy and fury on both sides, and at last was submitted for decision to the Lords of Council and Session. The presence of the two noblemen were, of course, required in Edinburgh; and as they either considered themselves in danger of bodily harm, or wished to overawe the judges by a display of force, they summoned all their retainers to accompany them to the capital The appearance of two large and hostile bodies on the streets of Edinburgh, naturally caused great disorder and alarm. The Privy Council met in haste, and appointed a committee to wait on the belligerents, and remonstrate with them on the impropriety of their conduct, and to prevent them, if possible, from proceeding to actual blows and violence. The Council at the same time decided, that so long as the two noblemen remained in town, they would not be allowed to appear on the streets with more than twelve followers each, or come to the bar with more than six, that they should comport themselves in a peaceful manner, and dismiss from their attendance all persons who had no necessary cause to be present The Council also issued injunctions to all the other noblemen who were in town, and were friends of the two litigants, that they should * forbear the backing of them at this time, on the pain of censure as troublers of his Majesty’s peace.’


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