The Mystery of Martyrs’ Hill: Making History

Martyrs HillMartyrs’ Hill © Ed Iglehart and licensed for reuse.

Can you help discover any information about the Covenanters’ Grave and Martyrs’ Hill?

I was alerted to the existence of this site by @ThorEwing when he sent me a link to this description of it on

Covenanters Grave on Martyrs HillThe Covenanters’ Grave on Martyrs’ Hill © Ed Iglehart and licensed for reuse.

The Martyrs’ Hill lies in Buittle parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Neither the name ‘Martyrs’ Hill’ nor the grave site appear on old maps.

The Court Hill Fort which occupies the same site is marked on maps and recorded by RCAHMS.

Map of Martyrs’ Hill

Covenanters Gravesite on Martyrs HillThe Grave © Ed Iglehart and licensed for reuse.

The song ‘The Covenanter’s Lament’ by the Renfrewshire poet, Robert Allan (1774-1841), mentions a ‘Martyrs’ Hill’. However, the reference appears to be to a generic location for field preaching, rather than to the hill in Buittle parish.

The Covenanter’s Lament
[To the tune The Martyr’s Grave.]

There ‘s nae Covenant now, lassie!
There ‘s nae Covenant now!
The Solemn League and Covenant
Are a’ broken through!
There ‘s nae Renwick now, lassie,
There ‘s nae gude Cargill,
Nor holy Sabbath preaching
Upon the Martyrs’ Hill!

It ‘s naething but a sword, lassie!
A bluidy, bluidy ane!
Waving owre poor Scotland,
For her rebellious sin.
Scotland ‘s a’ wrang, lassie,
Scotland ‘s a’ wrang—
It ‘s neither to the hill nor glen,
Lassie, we daur gang.

The Martyrs’ Hill ‘s forsaken,
In simmer’s dusk sae calm;
There ‘s nae gathering now, lassie,
To sing the e’ening psalm!
But the martyr’s grave will rise, lassie,
Aboon the warrior’s cairn;
An’ the martyr soun’ will sleep, lassie,
Aneath the waving fern!

~ by drmarkjardine on June 24, 2013.

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