10,000 men were sent from the Catholic Highlands to subdue the areas of Ayr and Lanark. However, nobody stood against them, so instead the men robbed and bullied the people in the whole area, and after two months the government withdrew them. Next James Graham of Claverhouse and his dragoons were sent against the saints. They attacked field-meetings, dyeing the heather with the blood of the worshippers; they shot the peasants in cold blood in the fields and murdered them at their own doors. On June 1st 1679 there was a field-meeting going on near Loudoun Hill, Avondale when the watchmen signalled that Graham was coming to attack them. Those with arms, about 250, went out to meet him at the Morass of Drumclog. Due to their heroism and determination, the Covenanters won the battle, only six were killed. People flocked to their banner until they were 5,000 strong, but they had no leader, so when a force of 15,000 came against them a few weeks later at Bothwell Bridge, they were soundly beaten, with 400 of their number being killed. 1,200 were captured and taken to Edinburgh. They were treated very cruelly, being locked up in Greyfriars’ Churchyard in the open air for five months. Some made their escape; others were released on signing a bond of non-resistance; others were freed when found to be dying from their wounds, or diseases contracted by exposure and seven were executed. After five months the remaining 250 were sent as slaves to Barbados, but they all died when their ship sank.
There is a plaque to the left of the photo, which is the south-west end of the graveyard. The actual place of imprisonment was beyond the walls of the graveyard.