Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Isabel Sharp

"Honour thy father and thy mother, which is the first commandment with promise: That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long upon the earth."--Ephesians 6:2-3

Isabel Sharp was the daughter of James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews. She was born c. 1660. I do not know when she died, nor when she married John Cunningham of Fife.
On May 3, 1679, Archbishop Sharp and his daughter Isabel were returning home by carriage when their coachman noticed nine armed men pursuing them. He endeavored to outride them, but one of them stopped the coach. They then dragged the Archbishop out to murder him, but not without interposition, for
"The Primate (Archbishop James Sharp)...protected by his daughter, who, repressing female weakness with a pious courage as rare as admirable, strove to interpose and preserve him. But, wounded in the hand and in the thigh, she at length fell into a swoon, and the villains ceased not from their violence, till they left the old man murdered..."--pg. 259, volume I, Memorials and Letters Illustrative of the Life and Times of John Graham of Claverhouse by Mark Napier.

The injustice of wounding the young woman is recognized by both Mark Napier, a Royalist, and Douglas Bond, a Covenanter. Quotes from King's Arrow, pgs. 76 and 97
"'They dragged out the traitor, who fell to his knees and begged for the life of his daughter.'
'His daughter?'
'Aye, his daughter. Sharp begged for her life--which the noble executioners spared, though she was wounded.'
'Foul indeed' said Sandy M'Kethe, shaking now with anger as he reconstructed the scene in his mind.
'Aye, he was, but he's with the devil now.'
'Ye mistake my meaning, man. Carry on with yer tale of woe.'"
"'Brutally murdering a man--even such a man as Sharp--in full view of his daughter, and wounding her in the bargain, man!'"


  1. Why was Isabel Sharp wounded?

  2. Was Isabel Sharp and her father Royalists or Covenanters? Judging from his title as archbishop, I am supposing the latter, and guessing that both were Episcopalians as opposed to Presbyterians.

    1. Yes, both the Archbishop and his daughter were Episcopalian.