NT2573 : Covenanters Memorial, Grassmarket

taken 9 years ago, near to Edinburgh, Great Britain

Covenanters Memorial, Grassmarket
Covenanters Memorial, Grassmarket
The shadow of the gallows hangs over this spot where, in the late 17th century, over a hundred Covenanters lost their lives for refusing to submit to royal authority over the affairs of the Kirk. This memorial, created in 1937, may appear to some to be merely historically symbolic, but a response to my posting of it on geograph would soon convince them of its depth of meaning. When Nancy Gibbs from Kearney, Nebraska writes to tell me that her ancestor James Mitchel died here, it brings home the reality and enormity of what was happening in Scotland eleven generations ago. Mitchel had attempted to assassinate Archbishop Sharp of St. Andrews by firing into his coach as he left his house in Blackfriars Wynd. However, his shot missed the intended target, killing Sharp's passenger, the Bishop of Orkney, instead. One Covenanter history records, "The cry arose, that a man was killed; upon which some replied, it was only a bishop, and all was very soon calmed"(Howie). After being tortured with the Boot and a long period of incarceration on the Bass Rock, Mitchel was executed for the murder. Most of those who perished on this spot were found guilty of taking up arms against what they perceived as a religious tyranny. They are certainly not forgotten, especially amongst their descendants who form part of the Scottish diaspora.

"We bind and oblige ourselves to defend ourselves, and one another, in our worshipping of God, and in our natural, civil and divine rights and liberties, till we shall overcome, or send them down under debate to posterity, that they may begin where we end." -- Rev. Donald Cargill, The Queensferry Paper, 1680
[Cargill was hanged here about two months after writing these words.]

See NT2573 : Covenanters Plaque, Grassmarket where you'll find Mitchel among the first names (1678)

NT2772 : The Hangman's Rock near Duddingston Kirk
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NT2573, 5645 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Saturday, 9 April, 2011   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 13 April, 2011
Geographical Context
City, Town centre 
Former (from Tags)
Place of Execution 
Memorial > memorial   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 254 734 [100m precision]
WGS84: 55:56.8702N 3:11.6792W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NT 255 734
View Direction
West-southwest (about 247 degrees)
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