tailor, major, and prisoner

Blackmount is a pretty and small graveyard on the border between Peeblesshire and Lanarkshire. The cemetery goes back to the late 18th century. Many stones are very old and somewhere in between these stones a man was buried who left no gravestone to remember him. He was a tailor, a major and a prisoner.

graves in sunlight


gravestone oldJoseph Learmont was a tailor, a quiet and peaceful profession. Then he took on a military career and became a major at a time of great unrest in Scotland. He fought at the Battle of Rullion Green where the Scottish Army fought the Covenanter rebels in 1666. They were religious rebels, fighting for Episcopalianism against the Presbyterians. The rebel army had qualified military leaders such as Joseph Learmont as well as well to do citizens and money. When the rebels held a parade at Rullion Green they were attacked by government forces and many died. Those who survived were tried and condemned to a brutal death.

skull on gravestoneJoseph Learmont, second in command of the rebel army, managed to flee. At home, his estate was forfeited and he had to go into hiding for 16 years. When he was finally discovered, they took him to Edinburgh where he was tried and condemned to be hanged but then pardoned to imprisonment. He was taken to Bass Rock, where all the captured Covenenters were taken. What a bleak prospect after 16 years in hiding only to end up on that desolate bit of rock in the middle of the Firth of Forth. With nor fresh water ond only other Covenenters for company.

Joseph Learmont memorialMany of them died there but not Joseph Learmont. He spent five years of his life on Bass Rock but was finally released because a physician convinced the authorities he was dying. He was not and had a few years left to his life not in hiding, not a prisoner but a free man. When he finally did die in Newholme, his body was interred in Blackmount graveyard.

church and entry

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