Tuesday, 29 October 2013

John Graham's Pistol

John Graham's military career began in 1672 when he joined the Scottish Regiment under the command of the Duke of Monmouth in the service of the French king. But in 1676 he resigned his commission and returned to Scotland. Charles II promoted him to the rank of captain and sent him to south-west Scotland with orders to suppress  Conventicles (illegal outdoor Presbyterian meetings).He raised an army  known as the 'Highland Host', wild mountain men who did their worst and returned home with all they could carry. This was the 'Killing Time', the religious wars that plagued Scotland for thirty years.

At Drumclog he had a close run thing when on 1st June 1679 he came across a conventicle but after leading an attack was forced into retreat and withdrew to the defence of Glasgow. On 22nd June Claverhouse joined forces with the Duke of Monmouth and together inflicted a heavy defeat against the Covenanters at the battle of Bothwell Brig. John Graham was appointed to the Privy Council in 1684.

 The people feared and hated the man they called 'Bluddy Clavers' for his ruthless killing of  men and women. However his reputation as a religious zealot does not sit easily with his marriage in 1684 to Lady Jean Cochrane from a strong Covenanting family. When in 1686 he was appointed to the post of Lord Provost of Dundee one of his first acts was to abolish the death penalty for theft.

This pistol had belonged to John Graham of Claverhouse, 'Bonnie' Dundee and it was collected by Sir Walter Scott who put it on display in the armoury at Abbotsford, his house in the Borders.