Discovered for History: Peden’s Point near Dalry and Kilwinning
In a great piece of historical fieldwork work, Neil Torrens has found, located and photographed Peden’s Point near Dalry in Ayrshire for History…
Peden’s Point is well known to locals and has been visited by Neil ‘a few times over the years’, but knowledge of its location and existence was not widely known in the historical community interested in sites associated with the Covenanters. Now, thanks to Neil’s efforts, that local knowledge has been brought to light.
Peden’s Point (sometimes known as ‘Peden’s Pulpit’) is said to be where the famous field preacher and fugitive Covenanter, Alexander Peden (d.1686), preached. A large number of site are associated with Peden in Ayrshire tradition.
Neil photographed the site after I appealed for information on it in the Prophet Peden Summer Challenge, a list of “lost”, very obscure or ‘un-photographed’ sites linked to Peden. At that time, the site was said to lie somewhere in the Lynn Glen.
The name Peden’s Point has been in circulation since at least 1911. In that year it was painted by the artist George Houston (1869–1947). Neil sent a link to the painting, which confirms the identification of the site.
The same artist also painted Pinnoch Point, which appears to be another name for Peden’s Point. The OS Name Book of the mid nineteenth century describes Pinnoch Point as ‘a rocky angle in Caaf Water, derivation unknown’ and does not mention Peden’s Point.
According to Neil, “it’s a bit more overgrown these days [than in the painting,] but it matches the description perfectly (overlooking a natural amphitheatre). It is well known to locals and I have visited a few times over the years… but today was the first time I have climbed on top of it!” The dimensions of rock are approximately 18ft high and 30ft wide.
Here are Neil’s photographs of Peden’s Point.
Peden’s Point lies on the west side of the B714 running south-west from Dalry. It is visible on the Bing aerial view.
It is also clearly visible on Google Street View. Curiously, the Caaf Water on the OS Maps is named the Lugton Water on Google Maps.
It is located at N 55 41.823, W 004 44.128
The point lies upstream from a waterfall on the Caaf Water. Romantic linns and glen, or prominent rocks like Peden’s Point, are often linked to the Covenanters in local traditions. Wikipedia lists a number of other sites potentially linked to Peden in the glen. There is no historical evidence that Peden preached either at, or near, the point. Only the traditional evidence maintains that he did preach there. That does not mean that Peden did not preach there. It simply means that history is unable to establish Peden’s preaching there as a historical fact.
If others would like to rediscover Peden’s Point it is quite easy to find. It is located at the furthest point of the Lynn Glen circular walk… between the bridge and the steps. You can park in the unsignposted car park at (N 55 42.061 W 04 43.646), which is just to the Dalry side of the river bridge. The best path to the Pulpit, both in terms of the view and the quality of the trail, is through a metal gate on the other side of the bridge to the car park.
Thanks, again, to Neil Torrens for bringing the information and photos of Peden’s Point to a wider audience.
Cleeves Cove, which lies to the east in the same parish, is said to be where Covenanters hid.
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