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Magus Muir

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Magus Muir, a tract, reclaimed and cultivated now,but formerly bleak and wild, in St Andrews parish, Fife, 3½ miles WSW of the city. A spot on it, marked now by the Bishop's Wood, was the scene, on the night of 3 May, of the murder of Archbishop Sharp (1618-79) by twelve Fife Cameronians. He was travelling from Edinburgh with his daughter, and, after a halt at Ceres to smoke a pipe with the parson, was driving on again, when a horseman, spurring towards them, fired right into the carriage. Others rode up, and shot after shot was fired, but never one took effect, and' Judas, come forth!' was their cry. So they dragged the old man out of the lumbering coach, and hacked him to death on the heath.' Upon the opening of his tobacco-box, a living humming-bee flew out. This either Hackston of Rathillet or Balfour of Burley called his " familiar;,' and, some in the company not understanding the term, they explained it to be " a devil."' Guillan, a weaver lad, one of the murderers, was, four years later, hung in chains on the spot, as also were five of the prisoners from the battle of Bothwell Brig. The broken headstone to Guillan's memory bore inscription:

' A faithfull martyr here doth lye,
A witnesse against perjurie,
who cruelly was put to death
To gratify proud prelate's wrath;
They cut his hands ere he was dead,
And after that struck off his head;
To Magus Muir then did him bring,
His body on a pole did hing;
His blood under the altar cries
For vengeance on Christ's enemies.'

See vol. vii., pp. 207-221, of Dr Hill Burton's History of Scotland (ed. 1876).—Ord. Sur., sh. 49, 1865.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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