The Electric Shepherd on Renwick’s Preaching at Riskinhope

You never know with James Hogg…

Young Linton in the Chapelhope,
Enraged to see the road hid waste.’ (Mess John, p81. v. 5.)

The Lintons were, in those days, and even till toward the beginning of the last century [i.e., 1700s], the principal farmers in all the upper parts of Ettrick and Yarrow; yet such a singular reverse of fortune have these opulent families experienced, that there is now rarely one of the name to be found above the rank of the meanest labourer. The Lintons of Chapelhope either favoured or pitied the Covenanters; for they fed and sheltered great numbers of them, even to the impairing of their fortunes.

ChapelhopeChapelhope © Jim Barton and licensed for reuse.

Map of Chapelhope

On [John Graham of Claverhouse’s, aka, Viscount] Dundee’s first approach to these parts, Mrs Linton went out to the road, and invited him and all his men to partake of a liberal refreshment, which they thankfully accepted; and this being a principal family, he went away so thoroughly convinced of the attachment of that neighbourhood to the royal cause, that a scrutiny was not only, at that time, effectually prevented, but the troops returned no more there for many years, until the license which they there enjoyed gathered such numbers as to become quite notorious.

The spots where conventicles were held on these grounds, are still well known, and pointed out by some devout shepherds, with anecdotes of the preachers, or some of the principal characters. One can scarcely believe, but that Mr [John] Graham [of Claverhouse] had visited these spots, or was present on them, when he wrote the following lines:

“O’er hills, through woods, o’er dreary wastes, they sought
The upland moors, where rivers, there but brooks,
Dispart to different seas. Fast by such brooks,
A little glen is sometimes scooped; a plat
With green-sward gay, and flowers, that strangers seem
Amid the heathery wild, that all around
Fatigues the eye.”

These lines, with the two following pages of the sweet poem in which they occur, seem to be literal sketches of these scenes, as well as a representation of the transactions which then took place: For years more gloomy followed; and, from these “green-swards gay,” they were driven into the “deep dells, by rocks o’er-canopied.”

RiskinhopeRiskinhope Rig © Jim Barton and licensed for resue.

‘Thus, it was high up in Ryskinhope where [James] Renwick preached his last sermon, above the lakes, the sources of the Yarrow, where there is neither plat nor plain, but linns and moors. When he prayed that day few of the hearers’ cheeks were dry. My parents were well acquainted with a woman whom he there baptized.’ (Hogg, A Mountain Bard, 90-2.)

‘Ryskinhope’ is Riskinhope Rig and lies across the Yarrow Valley from Chapelhope.

Map of Riskinhope Rig

Hogg’s parents, Robert Hogg (1729–1820) and Margaret Laidlaw (1730–1813), were old enough to have known someone baptised by Renwick. When he published A Mountain Bard, they were both alive. One wonders whether anyone asked them. And how much they enjoyed folk asking them.

Hogg also claimed that Claverhouse camped at the Grey Mare’s Tail.

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Text © Copyright Dr Mark Jardine. All Rights Reserved. Please link to or retweet this post, but do not reblog without the express permission of the author @drmarkjardine

~ by drmarkjardine on February 18, 2014.

4 Responses to “The Electric Shepherd on Renwick’s Preaching at Riskinhope”

  1. […] also claimed that Renwick preached at Riskinhope and that Claverhouse camped nearby at the Grey Mare’s […]

  2. […] Young Linton of the Chapelhope,                                        [Chapelhope] Enraged to see the road laid waste, Waylaid the damsel with a gun, But in a panic home was chaced. […]

  3. […] One of the women baptized in the Linn of Riskinhope by Renwick that year, has several children yet alive, not very aged […]

  4. […] after the capture of Marion Linton and her family. In the notes to Mountain Bard (1807), Hogg claimed the Lintons of Chapelhope hid fugitives. Young Linton of Chapelhope is also mentioned in his sublime ballad, ‘Mess John’, which is, in […]

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