Tom spends probably a full 5 days in Stanraer jail between Tuesday 30th of July and Sunday the 4th of August 1793 and judging by the report he travels onward to Edinburgh in handcuffs and in leg irons, I doubt he got any preferential treatment while in prison.
Relationship with Place
Stanraer is somewhere I’ve travelled through many times over the years. I used to take the train to the ferry terminal on my way from Glasgow to Ireland. Occasionally there would be a delay or a cancelation that would draw me into town for a drink or food, but I’d never really explored the town.
On the 22nd of May 2008 I started photographing the trucks that were coming into the ferry port with their haulage. The roads were backed up with lorries. All the lay-bys on the Cairnryan Road had trucks in them. Then I tried to get a photograph of the ferry as it was sailing up Loch Ryan but my point and shoot camera was too weak to get anything worthwhile. So I made my way into town. On the main street I stumbled across the town museum. I wanted to ask about the old road to Portpatrick. I’d set off without being able to find the right road but trusted in providence that someone locally would point me in the right direction. The museum’s curator took the time to engage with my project and answer my questions. He showed me the old military road on the map and showed me where it came into town at the new housing estate. This it seems is the true value of travel; I would never have gained this simple insight unless I’d got off my backside and made the journey.
Getting locked up is tough on anyone, but for an advocate it must be an even bigger shock. What had happened to the code of honour among gentleman that would have led him to expect that he would be placed under house arrest in the town, but not in gaol? When did it dawn on him that middle class Scotland had finally shed its support for the cause of reform and abandoned the fight for equal rights to the efforts of the organized urban artisans? His thinking couldn’t have been clear on any of these points but I wonder if he ever made the connection with the Covenanters who’d been locked up in the same prison a hundred years before. The fight to maintain Scotland’s Presbyterian worship that devolved power from ecclesiastical authorities into the hands of the parishoners, had been hard fought in Dumfries and Galloway. This very goal was one of the tools of repression used by John Graham of Claverhouse when he was ordered to suppress seditious conventicles in the area.
Cost shared between Stanraer and Portpatrick
190 mile round trip by car from Glasgow