Carsgailoch Martyrs' Monument

Carsgailoch Hill

New Cumnock


NGR - NS 548146


The monument is located in the midst of a commercial forest. Access to it has been compromised due to open-cast coal mining, and local inquries should be made.

According to tradition, a local farmer, Hugh Hutchison of nearby  Dalgig witnessed the martyrdom and later laid the bodies of the saintly three to rest on Carsgailoch hill. Many years later, Robert Paterson or 'Old Mortality' visited this holy spot and erected his
customary memorial stone. The inscription given by J. H. Thomson read:


HeRe . LyeS . IOSePH


Sadly the original 'Old Mortality' tombstone no longer exists although a small fragment could once be seen resting against the current monument. This piece has since been moved to the Baird Institute, Cumnock for safe keeping.
However this loss was to result in the discovery of New  Cumnock's most prized Covenanting relics. In 1827 when the foundations of the current tombstone were being laid, the bodies of the Covenanters were found perfectly preserved in their peaty resting place. A lock of golden hair and piece of woollen pawkie were recovered and remained in possession of the family of Ivie Campell of Dalgig farm for many years - these too can now be found at the Baird Institute.
The current monument was erected in 1827 and repaired in 1894 both events being recorded on the reverse side of the main inscription. A.B.Todd one of the finest poets on Covenanting traditions describes the Rev. David McAllister as 'one of the most eloquent ministers and able writers of that great country'.


Carsgailoch Hill Martyrs


Joseph Wilson, John Jamieson and John Humphry were seized by government troops close to the summit of Carsgailoch Hill and shot on the spot. There is no tradition of them being offered their lives in return for accepting the monarchy. Sadly, little else is known of the three Carsgailoch Martyrs.
Joseph Wilson

The name Wilson has strong ties with New Cumnock in a Covenanting context. James Wilson of the Old Castle featured in a proclamation of 1684 for 'the apprehension of those bearing arms or for harbouring those that did'. The surname Wilson appears thirteen times in 'A List of hearths of the paroch of Cumnock, Old & New' (1691), including James (2), John (6), William (3) and Sarah (1). Margaret Wilson, the young Wigtown Martyr and daughter of Gilbert Wilson is said to have been born near the River Nith at New Cumnock.

John Jamieson

John Jamieson's brother Alexander (sometimes referred to as James) was captured on the hill top and taken prisoner to Cumnock but his ultimate faith is unknown. William Jamisone and Heu  Jamison appear in 'A List of hearths of the paroch of Cumnock, Old   New' (1691), some 6 years after the Killing Day. Perhaps more  significantly this surname appears on no less than five occasions on 'The Hearths of the paroch of Muirkirk' including Alexander Jamisone - the brother perhaps of the martyr John. The route home
from Dalmellington to Muirkirk would take these Jamieson brothers over the heights of Carsgailoch.

John Humphry
Robert Umphra and Janet Umphra appear on 'The hearths of the Toune and paroch of Ocheltrie' (1691), where the name Umphra is clearly a form of  Humphry. If John Humphry the martyr, belonged to the parish of Ochiltree then he may well have been an acquaintance of Margaret Dun (see Martyrs Moss). Walter Humper, from the  neighbouring parish of Dalmellington was one of 250 Covenanters being transported to Barbadoes on the ship 'Crown of London' when it foundered on the rocks near Deerness, Orkney. Almost 200 Covenanters were drowned, but Walter is recorded as one of the 50 survivors. The name Humper may also be an alternative form of Humphry

Additional 1827 inscription:


Erected by the proceeds of a collection made after a sermon from Rev vii 14 – ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’ – preached here by the Rev A. M. Rogerson, of Darvel, 27th July 1826. The congregation assembled on the occasion was numerous, respectable, and devout, and the liberal collection then made proves that the heroic struggles of our Covenanting ancestors for civil and religious liberty are still appreciated by the men of Kyle. ‘The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance’.


Around 1894 a conventicle was held at the grave, arranged by the Covenanter historian, Adam Brown Todd, where Rev Dr MacAllister, of Pittsburgh, United States of America, preached. A collection was taken and the £15 raised was used to erect railings around the monument. These were to cost £21, the difference being paid by the Marquis of Bute.