Cameronian was a name given to a radical faction of Scottish Covenanters who followed the teachings of Richard Cameron, and who were composed principally of those who signed the Sanquhar Declaration in 1680. Known also as "Society Men", "Sanquharians," and "Hillmen", they became a separate church after the religious settlement of 1690, taking the official title of Reformed Presbyterians in 1743. "Societies of Cameronians for the Maintenance of the Presbyterian Form of Worship" were formed about 1681. Their testimony, "The Informatory Vindication", was published in 1687. They quickly became the most pronounced and active adherents of the covenanting faith. They wished to restore the ecclesiastical order which had existed between 1638 and 1649, and were dissatisfied with the moderate character of the religious settlement of 1690. Refusing to take oaths of allegiance to an uncovenanted ruler, or to exercise any civil function, they passed through a period of trial and found some difficulty in maintaining a regular ministry, but in 1706 they were reinforced by some converts from the established church. They objected strongly to the proposal for the union of England and Scotland, and were suspected of abetting a rising which took place in the west of Scotland in 1706; but there appears to be no foundation for the statement that they intrigued with the Jacobites, and they gave no trouble to the government either in 1715 or in 1745.
In 1712 they publicly renewed their covenants at Auchensaugh Hill in Lanarkshire, and in 1713 their first presbytery was founded at Braehead, while a presbytery was formed in North America in 1774. Following an 1863 division, the majority body of the Reformed Presbyterians united with the Free Church of Scotland, leaving the tiny minority body as the last representatives of the Cameronians; it retains the name of Reformed Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
In the British army the Cameronians (Scottish Rifles) was a regiment directly descended from the Cameronian guard, which was first raised in 1689 by James Douglas, Earl of Angus, fought at the battle of Dunkeld and was afterwards employed to restore order in the Highlands. One of the regimental traditions was to issue a bible to every new recruit; another was that the troops went under arms to church services, and the service only started after sentries had been posted on four sides of the church building.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.