|Douglas Community Council (incorporating Glespin and surrounding area) | sitemap | log in|
James Gavin Monument
James Gavin monument © of Lindsay Addison
The inscription on the monument reads as follows,
ON THIS SITE DWELT JAMES GAVIN TAILOR A HERO OF THE COVENANT. HE INCURRED THE SPECIAL ENIMITY OF CLAVERHOUSE WHO WANTONLY SEVERED THE EARS FROM HIS HEAD WITH GAVIN’S OWN SHEARS ABOUT THE YEAR 1684.
The above illustration shows the stone carved by James Gavin.
Cave entrance next to the Earnsalloch Burn
The entrance to what is believed to be the cave in which James Gavin had hidden (see 'Douglasdale' extract below)
Excerpt from the 1940 book 'Douglasdale - Its History and Traditions'...
Chapter 4, page 52...
The most famous of the Douglas Covenanters was James Gavin. This man, a tailor by trade, was one of the leaders of the village Presbyterians, and so was liable at any time to be apprehended by the followers of Claver-house. Tradition has it that when Gavin received warning that the soldiers were in the neighbourhood, he used to leave his house and seek a hiding-place; and many a night he passed in a cave in the ravine formed by the Earnsallach Burn, the stream which flows into the Douglas Water about a mile west of the village. Here he was much more secure from the sudden raids often made upon the dwellings of known Covenanters, as his place of refuge, deeply dug in the steep bank, was so well hidden as to make it practically impossible for a stranger to discover it. One night Gavin had been hiding in this cave and had taken his dog with him for companionship. It so happened that in the early morning, not long before the tailor would in the ordinary way have been returning to his house in Douglas, Claverhouse and a body of his men passed along the track leading from Sanquhar to Douglas, which was here quite close to the cave. The soldiers were unsuspicious and would soon have passed by had it not been for Gavin's dog, which heard the noise of the horses, and began to bark loudly. Claverhouse, thus warned that there was someone in the neighbourhood, ordered a search to be made, and the dragoons found the Covenanter and brought him before their master. Claverhouse, knowing his prisoner to be one of the detested Whigs, might very well have shot him on the spot, but this morning the punishment was mitigated and Gavin's life was spared, but orders were given that his ears should be cut off, a punishment common enough at the time. The sentence was carried out with the shears which the tailor carried with him. Gavin was transported to Barbados, but after 1688 he was able to return to Douglas, where he rebuilt his dwelling-house. This house, which is still in occupation, is a one-story building bearing on a stone above the door carved representations of the tailor's shears and " goose ", together with the date 1695. A " James Gavin, tailor in Douglas " was a witness in a case before the Crawfordjohn Kirk Session in 1704. Descendants of the worthy Covenanter were for long resident in Douglas, and there is still in existence a deed of 1758 relating to the old house and bearing the signature of a James Gavin who may possibly have been a son of the Covenanter.
The cave next to the Earnsalloch Burn
The Earnsalloch Burn.
Unveiling of the restored Covenanter banner 21/6/2003 in the Douglas Heritage Museum.
Covenanters CD Launch in Douglas
On Thursday 15th December 2005 a CD of songs was launched in the St Bride's Centre, Douglas called The Grassmarket Butchers -"Tales of the Covenanters".
A songwriting project by the New Makars Trust, the evenings performances were from The Lanarkshire Songwriters.
For more information contact Billy Stewart 01698 359326.
If you wish to find out more about the Trust, or discuss any project ideas, contact
Gifford Lind - Trust Secretary
Tel - 01383 729673
or any of the Trustees.
The New Makars Trust is a Scottish Charity - Scottish Charity Number SC026886.
Trustees - Jack Beck, Steve Byrne, Ian Davison, Carol Laula, Robin Laing (Convener), Ewan McVicar (Treasurer), Scott Murray. Secretary - Gifford Lind.
Click on images below to enlarge.
Dates for diary