The monument below, a granite block
cairn and pillar, marks the traditional site of the martyrdom in May 1685 of two local
Covenanter women for their refusal to take oaths demanded by the Test Act.
Tradition tells how Margaret McLachlan, an elderly woman in her 60's,
and Margaret Wilson, a teenager, were sentenced to be tied to stakes
on the merse at Wigtown Bay to be drowned by the incoming tide.
Margaret McLachlan, was staked further out, the ploy being that the
younger Margaret might be persuaded to change her mind and take the
oaths on seeing the fate of her companion.
|All attempts to
persuade the younger Margaret to change her mind failed and despite a tall
dragoon being ordered to hold her head up she too was
drowned. This barbaric execution was carried out by dragoons
under the command of Major Windram in the presence of Sir Robert
Grierson of Lag who held the King's Commission to suppress the
rebels in the South West. Their story, as told in various
sources, tells how the women were betrayed by an informer. After
about a month in prison they were tried as rebels and sentenced
to death by drowning.
Even today there is a
degree of controversy over the above detail and some writers have gone as
far as argued that the events never
actually occurred. At this place in time it is hard to determine the whole truth.
Many Covenanter stories are known to have been enthusiastically 'improved' in
there telling over the years. Readers are left to make up their own minds.
Read the notes page