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Aikenhead, Thomas (bap. 1676, d. 1697), freethinker and blasphemer, was baptized on 28 March 1676, the son of James Aikenhead (d. in or before 1683), apothecary and burgess of Edinburgh, and his wife, Helen (d. 1685), daughter of Thomas Ramsey, former minister of ...

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Balfour, John, of Kinloch (fl. 1663–1683), covenanter, was the son of John Balfour (d. c.1652), portioner of Kinloch, in the parish of Collessie, and his wife, Grissel Hay (d. c.1653). Served heir to his grandfather Robert Balfour on 26 February 1663, he was described as a 'broad man' with 'farid dusk brown hair' (...

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Campbell, Sir Hugh, of Cessnock (d. 1686), covenanter and conspirator, was the son of George Campbell of Cessnock and his first wife, Agnes Cunninghame (d. 1609). At his father's death on 27 May 1630 Hugh inherited land at Cessnock and Galston, and shortly thereafter he was knighted. He married, by a contract dated 14 October 1625, ...

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Cargill, Donald [Daniel] (c. 1627–1681), field preacher and insurgent, was born at the farmhouse of Nether Cloquhat, Perthshire, the son of Lawrence Cargill (d. 1657), smallholder of Nether Cloquhat, and later notary at Rattray, and his wife, Marjory Blair. Initially destined for a career in the law ...

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Colville, John (1542?–1605), conspirator and Church of Scotland minister, was born in Scotland, the second son of Robert Colville of Cleish (d. 1560) and Francesca (d. 1591), daughter of Patrick Colquhoun of Drumskeath. He was educated at St Leonard's College, University of St Andrews...

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Douglas, Archibald (c. 1540–c. 1602), conspirator and Church of Scotland minister, was the second son of William Douglas of Whittingham and Janet Matheson; he had an elder brother, also William (d. c.1572). Educated for the priesthood in France, Archibald graduated MA and by June 1562, probably in his early twenties, was parson of ...

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Dundas, Sir James, Lord Arniston (b. in or after 1619, d. 1679), presbyterian leader and judge, was the son of Sir James Dundas of Arniston (1570–1628), MP for Edinburghshire in 1612 and 1625 and governor of Berwick under James VI, and his second wife, ...

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Edalji, Shapurji (1841/2–1918), Church of England clergyman and victim of racial harassment, was born in Bombay, in late 1841 or early 1842, son of Doralji Edalji, a Parsi merchant. Educated at Elphinstone College, he was converted to Christianity in 1856, aged fourteen, by the ...

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Erskine, Thomas, of Linlathen (1788–1870), theologian and advocate, was born in Edinburgh on 13 October 1788, the fifth of seven children born to David Erskine, laird of Linlathen, writer to the signet, who died in Naples on 5 April 1791, and Ann Graham (...

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Thomas Erskine of Linlathen (1788–1870) attrib. Charles Baillod Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Gordon, Alexander, of Earlston (1650–1726), covenanter and conspirator, was the eldest son of William Gordon of Earlston (1614–1679) and Mary (d. 1697), second daughter of Sir John Hope of Craighall, Fife. He had twelve siblings, most of whom died young with the exception of ...

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Gowdie, Isobel (fl. 1662), alleged witch, first appears as the wife of John Gilbert and an inhabitant of the farmstead at Loch Loy, near Auldearn, in highland Scotland. Although she was later supposed to have begun practising witchcraft in 1647, it was in spring 1662 that she was implicated in a plot to harm ...

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Hackston [Halkerstoune], David, of Rathillet (d. 1680), covenanter, was a son of James Halkerstoune of Hilcairney. He had one sister and a brother, William, minister of Cleish from about 1678 to 1690. He was entered as heir to his father in March 1670 and is described as a 'tall slender man black harid and black vissaged' (...

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Hamilton, Sir Robert, of Preston, second baronet (1650–1701), covenanter, was the younger son of Sir Thomas Hamilton of Preston and Fingalton (d. 1672) and his second wife, Anne, daughter of Sir James Hamilton of Preston. Sir Thomas had fought for Charles II...

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Hume, Alexander (d. 1682), covenanter leader, was a 'portioner' of Hume, Berwickshire. The precise identity of his parents is unknown, but he had at least one brother—George—who was imprisoned in 1690 for publishing anti-government literature. There is no record of Alexander's...

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Innes, Alexander Taylor (1833–1912), lawyer and church historian, was born on 18 December 1833 at Tain, Ross and Cromarty, the son of Alexander Innes, accountant and bank agent, and his wife, Martha Taylor. He was educated at the Royal Academy in Tain and, from 1848, at the ...

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King, John (d. 1679), covenanter field preacher and martyr, of whose early life nothing is known, first appears among that group of ministers who refused to acquiesce in the re-establishment of the prelacy in the Scottish church after 1662. Unable to secure the tenure of a parish, he was protected from the authorities by his patron ...

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Nisbet, John (1627–1685), covenanter activist, was the son of James Nisbet, a tenant farmer of Hardhill, near Loudoun, Ayrshire. As a youth he entered military service on the continent, but was present at the coronation of Charles II at Scone in 1650. In the company of the king he subscribed the covenant, swearing his allegiance to 'all the acts of reformation attained to in ...

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Pont, Robert (1524–1606), Church of Scotland minister and judge, was born, according to George Buchanan, at or near Culross in Fife, a son of John Pont of Shires Mill and Catherine Murray, daughter of the laird of Tullibardine. Shires Mill, whose property his father held, belonged to ...

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Shaw, Christian (b. c. 1685, d. in or after 1737), witch accuser and thread manufacturer, was the daughter of the laird of Bargarran, Renfrewshire, whose first name is unrecorded. According to a contemporary account (A True Narrative), when she was eleven years old she began to experience alarming symptoms, not only suffering mysterious fits, during which her body became as stiff as a board, her belly swelled, and her eyes rolled back into her head, but also vomiting balls of hair, pins, and hot embers. She had hallucinations too. The devil himself reportedly appeared before her and to the amazement of all beholders she engaged in complicated theological arguments with him, citing biblical texts with surprising accuracy. She also had lengthy discussions with a series of invisible tormentors whom she described as witches. They nipped and bit her, she said, pointing to the marks they had left. Questioned as to their identity, she named various local men and women, and this was to have catastrophic consequences....