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The Wigtown Martyrs
by James Gracie

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There were many cruelties perpetrated in Scotland in the 17th century during what became known as "The Killing Times." People were imprisoned, tortured, deported and even hanged or beheaded, for wanting to worship according to the dictates of their conscience. One of the cruelest acts ever perpetrated during this period took place at Wigtown. Two women were martyred in a heartless fashion for adhering to the Covenant. They were tied to a post in Wigtown Bay, then drowned as the tide rose over their heads.

Their names were Margaret Lauchlison and Margaret Wilson. Lauchlison was the 63-year-old widow of a carpenter from the parish of Kirkinner, and Wilson was a farmer's daughter of 18 from Glenvernock Farm in Penninghame parish near Newton Stewart. Lauchlison's stake was driven into the sands below that of Wilson so that she would drown first. In this way it was hoped that Wilson would recant when she saw the older woman drown.

The Riding of Parliament - The Opening Of Scotland's Original Parliament
by James Gracie

When Scotland's new parliament was officially opened in 1999, it was a decidedly low-key affair compared to the majesty of the annual opening of the British parliament at Westminster. The Queen wore everyday clothes and official ceremony was kept to a minimum. So how was the state opening of Scotland's original parliament conducted? Was it a low-key affair, or was it stately and full of pomp?

It was certainly stately, but it lacked the overblown pomp associated with great occasions nowadays. On the day of the ceremony, the people of Edinburgh turned it into an event full of fun and good humour. The celebrations started early, before the official events of the day got underway. People had already flocked to the city, and from an early hour jugglers and street entertainers amused the crowds. The main ceremony was called the "Riding of the Parliament." In mid-morning, the crown, sword and sceptre, the Honours of Scotland, were taken from their resting place within Edinburgh Castle and transported in some style to the Palace of Holyrood, accompanied by a contingent of musketeers.

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