An episode from the persecution of the Scottish Presbyterians under Charles II and James II. Margaret Wilson of Wigtown was a Covenaneter, an extreme Presbyterian bitterly opposed to the authority of bishops within the Church. For refusing to give up her beliefs, she was tied to a stake in the Solway Firth and left to drown as the tide came slowly in. The picture has the loose and painterly handling of Millais’ late manner, quite different from the sharp focus of his Pre-Raphaelite style. George Holt of Sudley House, Liverpool, bought the painting in 1891 before presenting it to the Walker four years later.