Muir of Huntershill
Thomas Muir son of a wealthy Glasgow Merchant. Muir was born in 1765,
studied and practiced law in Glasgow and Edinburgh. He became a noted
reformed connected with friends of the people and the united Irishmen.
Under his influence parliamentary reform societies were established all
over Scotland, this coincided with the revolutionary events in France.
Muir was arrested on 4th august 1793, tried in Edinburgh on 30th
August 1793, where he was found guilty of having created disaffection by
means of libel and seditious speeches. He was banished to Botany Bay for
14years. In 1796 he escaped and made his way to France where he was hailed
as a hero and made a citizen of France.
Thomas Muir bust by
Currently exhibited in the Bishopbriggs Library
He died on 26 January 1799 in Chantilly France aged 33 years.
****Robert Burns wrote
Scots Wha Hae on
the day Muir's trial started. The letter he wrote with the first draft
makes it clear who he had in mind; Wallace was an allegory for the real
The Scottish Martyrs
Thomas Muir was one of
the Scottish Martyrs. Five men who were 18th Century political reformers,
in 1793 they were sentenced to transportation to Australia for sedition
and writing and publishing pamphlets on parliamentary reform.
They are honoured by two large obelisks, a Martyrs gate and a cairn.
The two large obelisks
were funded by public subscription raised by the radical MP Thomas Hume.
One of these is in Nunhead Cemetery in South East London, while the other
in the Old Calton Cemetery dominates the Edinburgh sky-line.
The obelisk in the old
Calton Cemetery in Edinburgh
was designed in 1844 by architect
Thomas Hamilton (1784 - 1858).
The monument speaks for
To The Memory Of
Thomas Muir, Thomas Fyshe Palmer, William Skirving, Maurice Margarot and
Joseph Gerrald. Erected by the Friends of Parliamentary Reform in
England and Scotland, 1844.
It includes the following
I have devoted myself
to the cause of The People. It is a good cause - it shall ultimately
prevail - it shall finally triumph.
Speech of Thomas Muir in the Court of Judiciary on the 30th August
I know that what has been
done these two days will be Re-Judged.
William Skirving in the Court of Judiciary on the 7th January, 1794.
The Nunhead obelisk was
erected in 1837
The Cairn and Martyrs
Gate at Huntershill Village we're erected by John SL Watson of Huntershill
and partly funded by the East Dunbartonshire Council.
There is a permanent
exhibition to Thomas Muir at Bishopbriggs library, which includes a
specially commissioned bust of Thomas Muir.
National Library Australia
Carlton Hill Cemetery Photo's
The Glasgow Story
Your Scottish descent
Calton hill cemetery article
Nunhead cemetery article 2009