It was the 'Killing Time'in Wigtown a small village on the shores of the Solway firth in Southwest Scotland.
Margaret Wilson, was only eighteen years old. The daughter of Gilbert Wilson, a Covenantor, a radical Presbyterian who rejected the Pope and all elements of the Catholic Church.
The Convenantors would not accept the Catholic King James VII's Letters of Indulgence were presecuted and executed without trial or appeal.
She was devout and zealous and became a member of a band of Covenantors who wandered through Carrick, Galloway, and Nithsdale seeking converts and believers. Rumours of a growing atmosphere of tolerance gave Margaret the confidence to return to her home in Wigtown. But their trust was misplaced. Patrick Stuart, a man of some influence in the region, upon encountering in the village, raised his glass and suggested that all present make a toast to the King's health. It was not something Margaret could do and refused. It was exactly what Stuart wanted and he denounced them.
She was arrested and thrown into the thieves' hole. After a little time she was thrown together with Margaret McLauchlan, a formidable Covenantor of extraordinary respectability and singular piety who refused all the oaths pressed on her on her and commitments to stop attending Presbyterian prayer meetings. Accused of raising arms and rebellion. She was very roughly dealt with and deprived of fire and bedding even though she was sixty-three years of age.
Margaret was vocal in protesting her persecution and was indicted along with her for rebellion and attending Covenantor meetings at Bothwell Bridge, Ayr's Moss, and field-conventicles, open air meetings of believers.
The charges were probably false. Both claimed they had never been at Bothwell or Ayr's Moss, but when the Abjuration Oath was put to them, they dutifully refused it and the assize found them guilty of treason. Both were to be staked below the flood-mark in the water of Blednoch near Wigtown, and drowned. They were brought to the place of execution by a large crowd of spectators and soldiers. A Major Windram was in command.
Margaret Maclachlan was staked a good way beyond Margaret Wilson, and quickly drowned to terrify Margaret Wilson into taking the oaths and conditions that would allow the officer in charge, one Major Windram to set her free. But Margaret would utter no such oath.
As the water was sweeping over her fellow-martyr, Margaret Wilson said, 'What do I see but Christ wrestling there. Think you that we are the sufferers? No, it is Christ in us who suffers'.
Then she sang the 25th Psalm from verse 7th and recited the 8th chapter to the Romans. She seemed to all unafraid. The water covered her: but before she was quite dead, they pulled her up, and held her out of the water till she was recovered, and able to speak; and then by Major Windram's orders, she was asked, if she would pray for the King.
She answered, 'She wished the salvation of all men, and the damnation of none.'
A woman among the spectators cried out....'Dear Margaret, say God save the king, say God save the king.'
She answered 'God save him, if he will, for it is his salvation I desire.'
Some in the crowd cried out,'She hath said it, she hath said it.'
The major hopeful for respite from his terrible undertaking came near, and offered her the abjuration, charging her instantly to swear it, otherwise be returned to the water.
She responded, 'I will not. I am one of Christ's children, let me go.'
Infuriated Major Windram ordered her pushed her back into the water.
The name of the man by whose information this poor woman was murdered is known. But it is Margaret Wilson's bravery that is well remembered.