James Renwick and the Long Stone of Convention near Muirkirk

One site which may (or may not) be connected to the preaching of the Covenanter, James Renwick, is the Long Stone of Convention, or the ‘Longstone of Conventicle’  in Muirkirk parish, Ayrshire.

It lies about three miles from Greenock Mains, the site where Thomas Richard was supposedly captured in 1685 and within half a mile of the Greenock Water on Burnfoot Moor.

Map of the Long Stone of Convention

Long Stone of Convention © Copyright Chris Wimbush and licensed forreuse.

The Long Stone of Convention was appearently used as a conventicle site. Since the stone was inscribed with the date 1685, or 1686, it is liekly that the preacher was James Renwick.

According to the OS Name Book:

‘This stone was originally published as “Standing Stone”, and described as an unmarked stone, 4ft high, broken in several places. No information was obtained as to when it was erected, and the usual traditions of it being associated with a battle or a grave were quoted locally’ (OS Name Book 1856).

However, it is called the “Long Stone of Convention” by Smith (1895),

Smith states that it was set up in 1686 on the summit of rising ground at Bankend; it was inscribed ‘1686’ and when he saw it, it had been knocked down and was lying in three parts. (Smith, Prehistoric man in Ayrshire, 138.)

The stone was reassembled in 1920 and the inscription expanded.

According to Fairbairn it was also called the ‘Longstone of Conventicle’, i.e., of field preaching:

‘Though it is in an appropriate site for a Bronze Age standing stone – to which a later inscription has been applied – this stone is rather small, and may be a stone, erected after the Covenanting period, to mark a spot where conventicles were held.’ (Fairbairn, ‘Notes on excavation of prehistoric and later sites at Muirkirk, Ayrshire, 1913-1927’, Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol.61, 271.)

In 1954, the inscription on the SE face of the ‘weathered pillar’ was described as ‘almost illegible’. The inscription apparently read “The Long Stone of Convention 1685 Replaced 1920.” In fact, the three parts of the stone had been re-erected and ‘secured together with stone inserts’, rather than replaced. However, by 1978, the inscription that mentioned the date had once again vanished.

See the site listing on the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments Scotland website.

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~ by drmarkjardine on February 4, 2012.

One Response to “James Renwick and the Long Stone of Convention near Muirkirk”

  1. […] entry does not give a specific site for Renwick’s preaching is given, but it may have been at the Long Stone of Convention, which is reputed to have been a preaching site in […]

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