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Margaret Wilson


c.1667 - 1685

Presbyterian martyr. Born and raised at Glenvernoch, near Bargrennan (Wigtownshire), Wilson's brothers fought with the Covenanters. While visiting friends in Wigtown, she and her younger sister (Agnes) were arrested and imprisoned. Margaret, Agnes and the elderly widow Margaret McLachlan were put on trial, accused of being Covenanters, but also of rebellion and refusing to take the Abjuration Oath which denounced the Covenanting cause and professed loyalty to King Charles II. All were found guilty. Despite a reprieve being granted, Wilson and McLachlan were tied to stakes and drowned in the Solway Firth. The women were buried alongside three male victims, together known as the Wigtown Martyrs, in the kirkyard of Wigtown Parish Church. Only Agnes, aged 13, was spared on payment of a bond of 100. Wilson's death was portrayed in the painting The Martyr of Solway (1871) by John Everett Millais (1829-96). Her martyrdom is commemorated by a monument in the Valley Cemetery in Stirling, and the Martyrs' Stake in Wigtown is a memorial.


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