The Lost Peden Cave in Glendyne

Tradition claims that Alexander Peden and the Covenanters hid at Glendyne in Sanquhar parish, Nithsdale…

Glendyne 3

Glendyne © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

According to the mid mineteenth-century OS name book, Glendyne was ‘an exceedingly deep, and romantic glen, it is famous as being the hiding place of the Covenanters during their persecution. A stream flows through this glen and bears its name till it unites with the Mennock Water about 2 miles from the foot of the glen.’

Map of Glendyne

Glendyne 2

Glendyne © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

The Reverend Simpson was an informant for the OS name book. Before the name book was written up, Simpson had published the following tradition about Alexander Peden hiding in Glendyne:

‘Among the many hiding-places to which this man. of whom the world was not worthy, occasionally retreated, was the solitude of Glendyne, about three miles to the east of Sanquhar. A more entire seclusion than this is rarely to be found. Glendyne stretches eastward, winding among the hills for nearly three miles.’

Glendyne 4

Glendyne © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

‘The width of the glen at the bottom is in many places little more than five or six times the breadth of the brawling torrent that rushes through it. Dark precipitous mountains, frowning on either side, rise from the level of the valley to an immense height. On the eastern extremity of the glen a cluster of hills gathers to a point, and forms an eminence of great altitude, from which a noble prospect of a vast extent of country is obtained.’

Glendyne 5

Glendyne © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

Glendyne terminates at Stood Hill, Green Hill, Black Hill and Bail Hill above and behind which sits the mining village of Wanlockhead.

Map fo Eastern Terminus of Glendyne

Glendyne Burn

Glendyne Burn © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

‘Near the lower end of this defile, which in ancient times was thickly covered with wood, and where it terminates its sinuous course with one majestic sweep, reaching forward to the bleak moorlands beneath, our revered worthy had selected for himself a place of refuge.’

The location of Peden’s Cave in Glendyne is not known. From Simpson’s tradition it appears that the cave, if it existed, lay somewhere at the lower end of defile in the hills through which the Glendyne Burn flows and above Auchentaggart Moor where it continues its course. The sweep of the burn appears to refer to its course around Brown Hill.

Map of approximate location of Peden’s Cave

There is a Peden’s Cave recorded in a neighbouring glen on the Howat Burn, but Simpson;s tradition does not appear to refer to that cave.

Glendyne 1

Glendyne © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

‘This spot, concealed by the dark mantling of the forest, was known only to a few who made the cause of these sufferers their own. It happened, on one occasion, that this honoured servant of Christ, having emerged from his covert, stood by the margin of the forest, on the beautiful slope of the mountain above. It was the balmy month of May [1685?], and Nature had just put on her loveliest attire.’

Government forces were often in the hills of Sanquhar parish. On one occasion, on Wednesday 6 May, 1685, they disrupted the Societies’ nineteenth convention in the area with the result that it was forced to relocate and briefly meet near the Crawick Water.

Glendyne Burn 2

Glendyne Burn © Chris Wimbush and licensed for reuse.

‘[…] He had fixed his eye on a cottage far off in the waste, in which lived a godly man with whom he had frequent intercourse; and there being nothing within view calculated to excite alarm, he resolved to pay his friend a visit. With his staff in his hand he wended his way to the low grounds to gain the track which led to the house. He reached it in safety, was hospitably entertained by the kind landlord, and spent the time with the household, in pious conversation and prayer, till sunset. Not daring to remain all night, he left them, to return to his dreary cave.

As he was trudging along the soft footpath, and suspecting no harm, all at once several moss-troopers appeared coming over the bent, and advancing directly upon him. He fled across the moor, and when about to pass a mountain streamlet, he accidentally perceived a cavity underneath its bank, that had been scooped out by the running brook, into which he instinctively crept, and stretching himself at full length, lay hidden beneath the grassy coverlet, waiting the result.

In a short time the dragoons came up, and having followed close in his track, reached the rill at the very spot where he was ensconced. As the heavy horses came thundering over the smooth turf on the edge of the rivulet, the foot of one of them sank quite through the hollow covering under which the object of their pursuit lay. The hoof of the animal grazed his head, and pressed his bonnet deep into the soft clay at his pillow, and left him entirely uninjured. His persecutors, having no suspicion that the poor fugitive was so near them, crossed the stream with all speed, and bounded away in quest of him whom God had thus hidden as in his pavilion, and in the secret of his tabernacle. A man like Peden, who read the hand of God in everything, could not fail to see and to acknowledge that divine goodness which was so eminently displayed in this instance; and we may easily conceive with what feelings he would return to his retreat in the wood, and with what cordiality he would send up the voice of thanksgiving and praise to the God of his life.’

As with all of Simpson’s traditions that are not based on historical evidence, there is no way of knowing whether the tradition of Peden in Glendyne reflects a historical reality, or is an invention.

For other Covenanter sites in Sanquhar parish, see here.

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

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~ by drmarkjardine on November 13, 2014.

One Response to “The Lost Peden Cave in Glendyne”

  1. […] was there yet another “Covenanter’s Cave” in Sanquhar parish besides the two Peden caves at Glendyne and by the Howat’s […]

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