17th century Scotland
BACKGROUND When Charles 11 told his Scottish kirk to change its ways and become Episcopalian he opened a proverbial can of worms in his northern kingdom.
17th century Scotland was stoutly Presbyterian. The answer was a loud no. The king insisted. The kirk refused so laws were passed to make this happen. Ministers who resisted lost their charge and were replaced by English style curates.
Resentment grew, church attendance dropped as many people began to attend secret open-air meetings and worship in their own way. These meetings were deemed illegal and labelled as conventicles. Those attending became known as covenanters, treated as rebels, open to torture or even death for their belief.
AND NOW FOR THE STORY’S CAST
John Steel is the main character in my scottish novel Changed Times. He’s a lowland farmer. The time is 1679. Life is pleasant and comfortable but it’s about to change. His sense of right and wrong, mixed with a kind nature, will take him down the road to rebellion against his king and government.
This is John Steel in his own words-
Mornin. Ah unnerstaund ah’m aboot tae hae ma story tellt in a book cawed ‘Changed Times.’ Weel so it is. Ye cudna mak it up. Neither wud ah wish whit happens on ma worst enemy. When ah luk back naethin surer but ah’d dae things a bit different.
But first things first. Ower amang the trees is ma farm. Ahint that the moor an hills. A bonny place tae be. No far frae the village o Lesmahagow in the county o Lanark. Nooadays ye’ll see ane o they wind-mill things on the sky line. In ma day it wis different.
Ah hae a wife Marion, twa wee lads William an Johnnie, an the best sheep dug in the world cawed Fly. The farm’s ma ain an a rent oot anither twa which brings in extra siller. Lik ma writer says we‘re dain aricht an lik she says it’s aboot tae chainge an no fur the better.
It aw stairts wi oor meenister. He’s cawed Lucas Brotherstane. Nice enough man but very high minded. No in the real world if ye git ma meanin. If ye tak a luk at this wee pictur ye’ll see fur yersel.
Whit a bother he causes an whit a sufferin he’ll git. Ye canna but feel sorry fur him. Ye’ll read it aw in the book but ah’ll gie ye a few hints next time ah speak tae ye. Richt noo ah’m awa, places tae go things tae dae.
Speak again soon.