NO4515 : Archbishop Sharp Memorial, Bishop's Wood

taken 10 years ago, near to Strathkinness, Fife, Great Britain

Archbishop Sharp Memorial, Bishop's Wood
Archbishop Sharp Memorial, Bishop's Wood
A memorial erected in 1877 in remembrance of Archbishop Sharp of St Andrews who was brutally murdered near this spot at the hands of nine assassins on 3rd May, 1679. They had been lying in wait for Carmichael, Sheriff of Fife, when chance (or, as they thought, Providence) delivered a far greater prey. For the background to this important incident in the history of the Covenanter movement, see LinkExternal link

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"...and then lying down in the barn to sleep, having sent one to Coupar to try Carmichel's motion, who returned about 7 hours, told that he with another on horseback, and 3 on foot, were gone south from Coupar towards Tervathill to hunting. Upon which some of them going hastily to horse took the way west toward Tervathill on the north side, and Rathillet being nearest Cupar, came back to the rest, told them, as he supposed, he had seen Carmichael presently go into Cupar, and that it seemed God had remarkably kept them back, and him out of their handů A boy came from Baldinny, and said, that the good wife* had sent him to know how they had sped; they told they had missed him... The boy ... said, Gentlemen, there is the bishop's coach, our goodwife desired me to tell you; which they seeing ... said, Truly, this is of God, and it seemeth that God hath delivered him into our hands; let us not draw back, but pursue; for all looked on it ... as a clear call from God to fall upon him.

Rathillet answered, that the Lord was his witness he was willing to venture all he had for the interest of Christ, yet he durst not lead them on to that action, there being a known prejudice betwixt the bishop and him, which would mar the glory of the action, for it should be imputed to his particular revenge. but he would not hinder them from what God had called them to, and that he should not leave them; which John Balfour hearing, said, Gentlemen, follow me: whereupon all the 9 rode what they could to Magusmuir ... and being come near Magus, George Fleman and James Russel riding into the town**, and James asked at the goodman if that was the bishop's coach? He fearing, did not tell, but one of his servants, a woman, came running to him and said it was the bishop's coach, and she seemed to be overjoyed and James riding towards the coach, to be sure, seeing the bishop looking out at the door, cast away his cloak and cried, Judas be taken! The bishop cried to the coachman to drive; he fired at him, crying to the rest to come up, and the rest throwing away their cloaks except Rathillet ... fired into the coach driving very fast about half a mile...

Andrew Henderson outran the coach and stroke the horse in the face with his sword; ... George Fleman ... riding forward, gripping the horses' bridles in the nearest side and held them still, George Balfour fired likewise and James Russell got George Fleman's sword and lighted of his horse, and ran to the coach door, and desired the bishop to come forth, Judas. He answered, he never wronged man ... and John Balfour on horseback said, Sir, God is our witness that it is not for any wrong thou hast done to me, nor yet for any fear of what thou could do to me, but because thou hast been a murderer of many a poor soul in the kirk of Scotland, and a betrayer of the church, and an open enemy and persecutor of Jesus Christ and his members,... and therefore thou shalt die! ... and James Russell desired him again to come forth and make him for death, judgement, and eternity; and the bishop said, Save*** my life and I will save all yours. James answered, that he knew that it was not in his power either to save or to kill us, for there was no saving of his life, for the blood that he had shed was crying to heaven for vengeance on him, and thrust his shabel**** at him. John Balfour desired him again to come forth, and he answered, I will come to you, for I know you are a gentleman and will save my life; but I am gone already, and what needs more? ...

Whereupon he went forth, and falling upon his knees, said, For God's sake, save my life; his daughter falling on her knees, begging his life also. But they told him that he would die, and desired him to repent and make for death ... He rising of his knees went forward, and John Balfour stroke him on the face and Andrew Henderson stroke him on the hand and cut it, and John Balfour rode him down; whereupon he, lying upon his face as if he had been dead, and James Russell hearing his daughter say to Wallace that there was life in him yet, in the time James was disarming the rest of the bishop's men, went presently to him and cast of his hat, for it would not cut at first, and haked his head in pieces. William Danziel lighted, and went and thrust his sword into his belly ... Rathillet was standing at a distance with his cloak about his mouth all the time on horseback." -- report of James Russell's testimony, given under oath LinkExternal link (Archive LinkExternal link )

*farmer's wife; **farmstead; ***spare; ****sabre

NO3911 : The Waterless Road

NO5016 : The assassination of Sharp

NO5016 : Archbishop Sharp Memorial, Holy Trinity Church
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NO4515, 45 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 1 February, 2012   (more nearby)
Monday, 6 February, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NO 4561 1515 [10m precision]
WGS84: 56:19.5358N 2:52.8645W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! NO 4561 1514
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North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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