© Robert Guthrie
The Killing Day
In the Killing Year of 1685, conventicles or field-preachings were still common-place in the moorlands of south-west Scotland. At that time there was no finer field-preacher than the young Reverend James Renwick. Attendance at one of his conventicles would undoubtedly have been a tremendous spiritual experience for the 'hill-folk', but an extremely dangerous one as well. Renwick was a rebel in the eyes of the government and his movements would have constantly been under scrutiny. It is not certain whether the government troops had been alerted to a conventicle he held in Dalmellington (others suggest Carsphairn) or whether these troops were simply carrying out their standing orders to scour upper Nithsdale in search of rebellious hill-folk .Whatever the circumstances the outcome was that seven Covenanters returning to their homes, uplifted by Renwick's preaching were seized, shot and entered martyrdom in the hills of New Cumnock, in april 1685. The saintly seven are remembered in the Covenanting Traditions of the Carsgailoch Martyrs, the Cairn Martyrs and Martyrs' Moss .