The Indictment of Argyll

by Mike on March 15, 2014

In July 1660, the Marquis of Argyll went to London to pay respects to King Charles. When he arrived, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

toward_castleIn January 1661, Parliament met in Edinburgh for the first time in nine years and on the 18th of that month, Sir James Lamont initiated proceedings against Argyll, Ardkinglas and others that were involved with the murderous events that took place in Toward, Ascog and Dunoon, in June 1646. Sir James sought to petition Parliament for warrant to cite the Defenders. Five days later, on 23 January 1661, a Charge of High Treason was laid before Parliament. The Charge goes into great detail of the injustices suffered by the Lamonts at the hands of the Campbells, but there were additional citations that had nothing to do with the Lamonts.

Indictment of High Treason

On 31 January 1661, a Grand Indictment of High Treason exhibited against Argyll was submitted to Parliament by His Majesty’s Advocate. One can imagine how the Lamonts had longed for the day Argyll would be charged. It is also worth noting how quickly this Indictment was brought, which may be an indication of the hatred against Argyll and his kinsmen for their own actions over the years.

And the speed of this Indictment was not slowed, as later on that same day, a Herald appeared before Argyll to serve him formal summons before Parliament to answer the Charge.

There were three groupings of charges contained in the Indictment.

The First Class referred to Argyll and his conduct during the civil war; his share in the invasion of England in 1644; the delivering up of Charles I to the English forces at Newcastle and the execution of the Marquis of Huntly and the Marquis of Montrose.

The Second Class concerned the Lamont killings.

The Third Class concerned the charges of having concurred in the usurpation of Oliver Cromwell; having been present on the proclamation of Cromwell as Protector and having sat in his Parliament.

The Complainers were Sir John Fletcher, Knight ‘our Advocate for our interest’ and Sir James Lamont of Inneryne Knight ‘for himself and in the behalf of his kindred, friends, vassals, tenants and servants parties grieved and damnified in manner specified’.

The accused named in the Indictment were Archibald Campbell the Marquis of Argyll, George Campbell ‘his justice and sheriff deputy’, the chiefs of most, if not all, the Campbell clans in Cowal, ‘Mr. Colin Macklawlachlan’, minister at Lochgoylisheid and at the end are included ‘All or the most part of them, being the said Marquis of Argyll’s friends followers of complices under his command and as he might have stopt or let’.

The Seventh Charge

The charges that regarded the Lamonts began with the Seventh Charge. The Preamble to the Charge is notable in that it brings strong emphasis to the importance of the Commission granted Sir James by His Majesty (yet the Commission granted by Montrose is not mentioned).

‘Our said deceased Lord, and dearest father, having granted Commission upon day of March 1643 years under His Majesty’s hand authorizing and giving express order to the said Sir James Lamont to prosecute a war and levy forces in his Majesty’s name against those in rebellion and particularly against the said Marquis of Argyll, and to invade his bounds and lands, as he was the principal promoter of those odious and rebellious practices against His Majesty’s authority obedience whereunto the said Sir James according to his allegiances and bound duty levied all his friends and followers for promoting whereof until the year 1646. That after His Majesty’s coming to Newcastle and casting himself upon the trust of his army lying there, the said Sir James did then lay arms, and with his friends retreating in a peaceable manner to his own houses at Toward and Escog, the being no other houses for the shelter of his friends of the country having been formerly wasted and burnt’.

The Seventh Charge then goes on with details of the crimes alleged against the Lamonts:
‘The siege of Toward and Ascog Castles and subsequent capitulation and the plundering afterwards of the Castles and their contents the robbery of money cloth and livestock, the value of which being stated at £50,000.

The murder of a number of ‘innocent women’. Three are named (none bearing the Lamont name) and ‘certain others’ and the charge is completed with the words ‘and inhumanely left their bodies as a prey to ravenous beasts and fowls’.

The Eighth Charge

The Eighth Charge alleged:

‘Binding the hands of two hundred persons of the said Sir James and his friends and followers, detaining them prisoners with a guard, their hands being bound behind their backs like thieves’ for the space of several days; then carrying Sir James to Ascog when ‘for fear of Sir James’ life’ the keepers of the said castle surrendered upon capitulation which was most traitorously and perfidiously broken’; and after plundering the Castle and its contents, ‘they most barbarously cruelly and inhumanely mirdered several young and old yea suckling children, some of them not one month old.’

That they carried the whole people within Ascog as prisoners to Toward.

That they burned Ascog and destroyed the whole orchards and plantations.

That they then carried all prisoners from Ascog and Toward to several boats sending Sir James and his two brothers and other relatives to George Campbell Sheriff Depute and Inveraray.

That they then burned Toward Castle.

The Ninth Charge

The Ninth Charge alleged:

That ‘contrary to the capitulations, our laws and Acts of Parliament’, they carried the whole persons to Dunoon.

In Dunoon they hanged upon a tree near the number of thirty six persons, most of them being special gentlemen of the name of Lamond and vassals to the said Sir James.’

In Dunoon, they unchristianly murdered with durks and cut down with swords and pistols 28 persons whose names are given followed by the name of John Jamieson, then Provost of Rothesay who being shot thrice through the body finding some life in him did thrust severall durks and skanes in him, and at last did cut his throat with a long durk; the said John Jamieson not only representing His Majesty’s authority, as prime magistrate of his royal burgh was so cruelly murdered in contempt thereof.’

That they manifested their further cruelty by casting some of these persons into ‘holes made for them who were spurning and wrestling whilst they were suffocated with earth having denied to them any time to recommend themselves to God.’

(The Ninth Charge also relates the rather strange story of the tree upon which the Lamonts were hanged. This is an interesting story that we will examine in a future article.)

The Tenth Charge

The Tenth Charge tells of Sir James being brought before a ‘conventicle’ at Inveraray, consisting of George Campbell Sheriff and Justice Deputy to the Marquis of Argyll, James Campbell of Ardkinglas, Dougall Campbell of Inverawe and certain other persons. At this time, Sir James was asked if he would submit ‘his life and fortune to them’, upon which Sir James refused, citing His Majesty’s Commission.

The Eleventh Charge

The Eleventh Charge addresses the attempt to locate Sir James at Southannan.

The Twelfth Charge

The Twelfth Charge refers to a visit Argyll paid to Dunstaffnage, when proposals were submitted to Sir James to renounce his property rights.

The Thirteenth Charge

The Thirteenth Charge refers to Sir James being compelled to grant a bond for 4400 merks for ‘alledging four years entertainment’ in Dunstaffnage Castle, when the said Sir James Lamond was violently traitoriously and illegally detained prisoner.

The Fourteenth Charge

The Fourteenth Charge deals with Patrick Lamond fiar of Escog and John Lamond of Auchengylle who were, as prisoners, brought before George Campbell at a pretended Court of Justices at Inveraray. John Lamond was absolved, but George Campbell held a second court which convicted John Lamond, leading to both men being hanged. The Charge mentions the children of these two men, who Argyll refused to support, despite possessing their lands at Ascog and Auchengylle. The Charge also states they brought before them Duncan Lamond of Stronalbanach, Patrick Lamond’s uncle, an old man who was being held prisoner at Castle Lauchlane, threatening him with hanging if he did not renounce his whole rights to the lands at Kames.

This Charge goes on to name Colin Macklauchlane Minister of Lochgoilhead, who was present at Dunoon when the killings took place, accusing him ‘most villainously and treacherously in the said village of Dunoon in the month of June 1646, contrary to the said capitulation, was a main counsellor, actor, author, aider, assiter, abetter, promoter and art and part of the foresaid murders committed at Dunoon.’

This Charge then charges Duncan Campbell of Ellangreg of taking possession of Lamond of Couston lands of Stroan and Cowston and also that in Marh 1646 he came to Stroan and Cowston and murdered men and children to the number of forty persons.

The Charges accused James Campbell of Ardkinglas, ‘Intending to never put a period to their cruelty so long as any of the name of Lamond and their friends and followers were left’, murdered a Lamond a beggar and another John MacPatrick alias Lamond.

The Charge concludes with a charge of murder against Alexander Campbell of Pennymuir on a Robert Lamond, and Irish Merchant while visiting on business in the Isle of Cumbrae.

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Lamonts and Campbells from 1646 to 1659

by Mike on March 14, 2014

What follows here is a story of treachery and not a story of clan warfare. McKechnie wrote: ‘ To the lasting disgrace of the seven who signed for Clan Diarmid, the agreement was treated as a scrap of paper and a campaign of murder robbery and oppression was begun which can have had no other object but the extermination of the Lamonts as a clan.’

lamont_tartanThe Campbells, on the other hand, with their clear memories of the killings of over 800 Campbells and the sacking of their districts by Royalist troops, offered this excuse, saying that ‘no capitulations should be kept with traytors to God and his covenant’.

At Ascog, the Lamonts were seized and carried to Toward. Silvereraigs was the lone person rescued, he being saved by Mr. Ewan Campbell, his good brother. Both Toward and Ascog were stripped of all furniture and the Lamonts suffered the loss of all their possessions and clothes. The entire stock of sheep, goats, horses and cattle were removed.

McKechnie suggests it is a gross exaggeration, but a witness to the event said the Campbells took 7000 sheep and goats, 600 horses, 300 head of cattle and also removed or destroyed over £60,000 of household furniture. They took from Sir James his charter chest, which held all the documents related to his Baronies and land holdings. (This was fortuitous, as it saved these documents from being destroyed when the castle was torched.)

Sir James said the Campbells: ‘spoyled himself and his brethren of their whole clothes, yea they were not ashamed to dispoyle his lady and their sisters of their gowns and petticoats leaveing little more upon them wherewith to cover their shame bu their smocks and also the said Sir James and his children were robbed of their little garments and thus they used all his friends and followers, their wives and children.’

At some point in the night, Sir James managed to elude his captors and met with his sister. He confided in her that it was clear the Campbells were not going to adhere to the written terms of capitulation and he was fearful they would take from him his own copy of these terms. (He was later searched at Inveraray for his copy of the terms). He gave his sister his copy, saying: ‘there is no remedie but you must take it for it is not only all the evidence for our whole lands and estates but also the securytye we can pretend for our lives and blood which these wicked people by all appearances are likely unjustly to robb us of.’

She, being dressed only in a smock, loosened her hair and wrapped the copy of the terms in the plaits of her hair, where she kept it during the time she was imprisoned in the garrison. This is the copy that was ultimately delivered to Edinburgh and which helped separate the Marquiss of Argyll from his own head.

It is notable that Sir James gave this copy to his sister and not to his own wife, who was the sister of Ardkinglas.

The Lamont women and children were carried away by boat to ‘other countries either to get by begging or starve’.

Sir James, his brothers Archibald of Stillaig and Ninian, Ascog with his son and brother and Auchagoyl were then taken to Inveraray, the principal house of the Marquis of Argyll and later moved to other other castle prisons.

On 14 June the remaining defenders of Ascog and Toward were taken by boat to Dunoon, where they were court-marshaled in the Kirk, where the Campbells sat in their Council of War. Groups of men were then led outside to be murdered.

Sir James, unaware of the Dunoon massacre, was court-marshaled by George Campbell and was encouraged to sign a paper declaring his quarrel had been unjust and that he wished to repent. McKechnie suggests this paper was signed because the alternative was another Dunoon.

On 22 June, Sir James was transferred to Dunstaffnage, near Oban.

MacColla had managed to escape away to Ireland, but his father, old Colkitto, was taken prisoner at Islay and shared the Dunstaffnage prison with Sir James. Colkitto was hanged and buried at Dunstaffnage.

Sir James’ sister had managed to make her way to Edinburgh with the concealed copy of the capitulation agreement, yet the Marquis of Argyll had such great power and influence that she was unable to get a single hearing before Parliament, to protest the ‘rapine, murders and cruelties committed upon herself brethren and kindred’.

King Charles I was executed on 31 January 1649. Ten days after King Charles II was proclaimed, Sir James was appointed a Commissioner for War for his country, even though he was still being held at Dunstaffnage.

In April 1650, Sir James was transferred to Innis Connel Castle, on Loch Awe. On 1 January 1651, Charles II was crowned at Scone by the Marquis of Argyll, which speaks volumes as to the efforts of Sir James’ sister to have been able to present the terms of capitulation to the King. On 25 June, Argyll was ordered to produce his prisoners immediately and Sir James was released and taken to Stirling ‘for security from the tyranny of Argyll’, but ’till they should be brought to a tryall’. Argyll then petitioned Parliament that the Lamonts be brought to trial for ‘certain enormities committed in 1645′. Sir James responded by bringing a process against Ardkinglas and his men for their breach of the terms of capitulation. As a result, the Campbells were ordered to appear. However, at this same time, Stirling Castle surrendered on 14 August to General Monk, who was Cromwell’s lieutenant in Scotland.

The capitulation of Stirling Castle provided for the release of all prisoners, at which time Sir James made for cover with his mother’s people, the Semples at Southannan by Fairlie, which is near Largs.

Before the end of the year, Argyll had traced Sir James and Campbell of Ardtarig’s son arrived with twenty or thirty armed men. They searched Southannan and then Crosbie, whose lady was Anna, wide of Crawford of Auchinanes and also sister of Sir James. Sir James escaped to Arran, where he approached Anne, Duchess of Hamilton. She was unable to shelter him and he was forced to live in the woods during the winter months. In the summer of 1652 he went to live with his cousin, the Earl of Wintoune, but after five years he was once again forced to flee a murderous party of Campbells.

Argyll then tried to bring up civil charges at inveraray against Sir James, citing all of his many unpaid debts, but the effort went without success.

In early 1658, Sir James was at Kilmory in Glassary. He ended up quartered at Rothesay, assuming he would be safe from Argyll, as Campbell forces had murdered their Provost at Dunoon.

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Lamonts and Campbells – Early 1646

March 12, 2014

In the Spring of 1646, Sir James Lamont and Alasdair MacColla Ciotach MacDomhnaill (Alasdair the son of Colla the Left-handed, of the Clan MacDonald) determined they should once again join forces with Montrose. It should be remembered that Montrose had suffered defeat on 13 September 1645 at Philliphaugh, And Montrose had called Sir James and […]

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Lamonts and Campbells – 1645

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After scoring a victory at Tippermore, Alasdair MacColla persuaded Montrose that an invasion of Argyll was in order. Stevenson says: ‘Alasdair stressed the importance of the Marquis of Argyll. Not just as an enemy of the MacDonalds, but as the leading figure among the Covenanters; to destroy his power would not just advance the interests […]

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Lamonts and Campbells from 1600-1644

March 8, 2014

It appears that the 17th century came without much ado for the Lamonts. In 1612, James Lamont was born and the Barony passed to him in 1624. In 1634, he married his cousin Margaret, daughter of Sir Colin Campbell of Ardkinglas. Later in 1634, he succeeded his father as Chief of Clan Lamont. In 1637, […]

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Lamonts and Campbells – The Early Years

March 7, 2014

It is difficult to prepare an article that accurately describes the difficulties between the Lamonts and the Campbells, without looking at a lot of very ancient history (which is typically vague) and examining the geography of Cowal. I hope this effort will provide some background information for those seeking to understand. Dunoon Dunoon is known […]

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