Sunday, 8 November 2015

Ane Compact of Villany

Ane Compact of Villany is a short and utterly fascinating book by Lindsay Campbell.

It is a thorough and compelling and extremely well-researched and well-written book that relates the story of a criminal gang that plagued Argyll during the 17 century.

It looks very carefully at a gang who operated between the 1680s right through to the 1700s who stole from their own neighbours and kin and who are described as: "early Jacobites, thieves housebreakers and highwaymen."

They brought misery and fear to the populace of the area, and, despite the fact that the Argyll hill country was already ravaged by a famine, they ran protection rackets, rustled cattle, stole horses, kidnapped members of rival clans and so-forth.

They were the scourge of the authorities and they seemed to be able to operate with impunity.

But the plight of a poor widow woman enraged one working man who became so enraged by the gang's wickedness that he determined that he would take down this band of 'stouthrieves' and bring them to justice.

Eventually the gang begins to make mistakes and they were almost all captured and subjected to a trial and the ignominy of a mass execution in full view of many of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen who they had so grievously hurt for some two decades.

This book is short, under 100 pages, but it is filled with references as a good history book should be, but it is not a dry and dusty narrative, for in her book, Lindsay Campbell bring this tumultuous and troubled time back to life.

It is an excellent book for those who love tales of days gone by, for those who want to discover the true facts of their Socttish family tree -warts and all!- or for students of history, especially of the early Jacobite times.

It is published by Matador at £9.99 and will make an excellent stocking filler. It is available from the that's Books and Entertainment book shop. You will find it on the right hand side of this website.

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