We hear that Mark Carroll has been inspired by Strathaven‘s 1820 Radicals. While an image of leader, James ‘Purlie’ Wilson may now be on display in our National Portrait Gallery, in 1831, when the Reverend William Proudfoot, was called upon to write about his Parish of Avondale for the Statistical Account of Scotland he was somewhat less impressed:
I grieve to be under the necessity of noticing a ‘rising’ here of a very different description in 1819, – a rising in open rebellion against lawful authority, and intended against both the altar and throne. I refer to the attempt of a few deluded persons calling themselves “Radicals”, who with something like weapons in their hands, marched from this place towards Glasgow, under the command of James Wilson, whose life was soon after forfeited to the outraged laws of his country. It does not appear that Wilson ever contemplated carrying matters so far as to become an open rebel against the laws of his country; but he had infused a spirit into his companions which he was unable to control. This rising was in the utmost degree contemptible, for it comprised no more than thirteen individuals, deluded by a false report that a general rebellion had taken place in Glasgow. It has been remarked that none of those who joined in the ludicrous crusade afterwards experienced any thing like prosperity.
Despite Mr Proudfoot’s concerns, we can look forward to ‘marching’ from this place towards Glasgow with something like music in our hands.