Richard Cameron

1648 - 1680

Covenanter and founder of the Cameronians, a religious sect which became a regiment in the British Army. Born in Falkland (Fife), Cameron was educated at the village school and then the University of St. Andrews. He returned to his former school in Falkland as a teacher. Cameron attended the Covenanter's outdoor services in the area but moved south and entered the service of Sir Walter Scott of Harden as tutor and chaplain around 1675. He soon became a field-preacher and determined Covenanter. Following a period of exile in the Netherlands, during which he was formally ordained as a minister in the Scots Kirk in Rotterdam, Cameron returned to Scotland to incite action against what he saw as the religious intolerance brought about by King Charles II (1630-85). He openly called for rebellion in the Declaration of Sanquhar, which was read out at the Mercat Cross in the Nithsdale village by his brother Michael. This called for the people to rise against King Charles II and for the exclusion of Charles' brother, later King James VII, from the succession. Cameron was branded a traitor and a substantial price placed on his head. He continued preaching in South West Scotland, but he and a small band of followers were engaged by government troops at Aird's Moss and Cameron, his brother and several others were killed. His prayer before the battle, 'Lord spare the green and take the ripe' has become famous. Cameron's head and hands were cut from his body and taken to Edinburgh, where they were paraded through the streets and then publicly displayed attached to the Netherbow Port.

His death is commemorated by the Aird's Moss Memorial. With the greater degree of religious tolerance which followed the accession of King William II in 1689, the surviving Covenanters were granted an amnesty, and the Cameronian Regiment was formed from them. This regiment soon defeated the Jacobites at the Battle of Dunkeld, although their commander Lieut-Colonel William Cleland was killed. Subsequently renamed the 26th (Cameronian) Regiment of Foot, the Cameronians continued to serve within the British Army until 1968.

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