27 July 1681 – Donald Cargill

‘If believers loved Christ as He loves them, they would be in more haste to meet Him’, so said Donald Cargill, who met his maker on this day at the latter end of the 17th century. Maybe that’s why he did his level best to defy the laws of the land.


Ok, so the laws were being dictated by England, and the Scot was merely trying to practise his Presbyterianism north of the border, in Glasgow.

Sadly he was not being left alone to do so, after directives from London instructed clergy to adopt structural changes to the Church.

As a Presbyterian, he wholeheartedly believed that the ecclesiastical hierarchy centred around elders, while England was busy imposing a bishop-led organisation.

Well, the Scot wasn’t having a bar of it and he even went as far as to ‘excommunicate’ the then king, Charles II, during one of his sermons.

Bounty hunting

Yet, Cargill wasn’t alone. Many had vowed to uphold the faith of their forefathers and this open resistance had ensured that there was a price on their heads. As such, they became easy prey for bounty hunters.

Finally, Cargill was apprehended at Lanarkshire where he was dragged to jail, ‘with his feet tied tightly under a horse’s belly’, according to ‘Glimpses of Christian History’.

There, Cargill was tried and found guilty of heresy. Unsurprisingly, the death penalty was passed and his sentence was to be beheaded (although others reckon he was hanged).

His execution took place at Edinburgh, when he was aged roughly 70-odd.

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