Discovered for History: The Peden Stone at Mid Linthills near Lochwinnoch
Congratulations to Neil Torrens. For a second time, he has found and photographed one of the obscure Prophet Peden sites for History…
The Peden Stone. Reproduced by the kind permission of Neil Torrens.
Neil has found, located and photographed the Peden Stone near Mid Linthills.
The approximate location Peden Stone was known, but it where it exactly was and what it actually looked like was not well known. On his first trip, Neil could not find the stone, but on a second visit, after he had contacted the Lochwinnoch Forum, his efforts paid off. He was contacted by Adrian Tharme who provided a great description of how to find the stone and the information about the farmer who blew it up. He also received photos from George Fawcett of the stone.
The Peden Stone Excavated. Photograph reproduced by the lind permission of George Fawcett.
The Peden Stone during excavation. Photograph reproduced by the lind permission of George Fawcett.
Thanks to the information he received, Neil has now precisely located and identified the stone for everyone interested in the history of the Covenanters.
The Peden Stone at Mid Linthills is said to be from a location nearby where the fugitive field preacher, Alexander Peden (d.1686), preached.
According to Neil:
‘The Peden Stone now lies on side of Linthills Road, near Lochwinnoch Golf Club. It is now visible as the growth has gone on the grass verge where it lies. There is a natural spring about 10 metres further up where the road bends. The stone is about 2ft x 15ins x 10 ins and perfectly flat.’
The Peden Stone at Linthills is located at N 55 48.322, W 004 38.875
Mid Linthills in the mid nineteenth century
The Peden Stone originally marked the traditional site of a field preaching. Where that preaching precisely took place is not clear, as the Peden Stone was previously located between Linthills and the hill of Dunconnel, before it was blasted out of its position during agricultural improvements and removed to its present location at Mid Linthills farm. It may be of minor significance that an old quarry is situated near the stone.
The Peden Stone at Mid Linthills. Reproduced by the kind permission of Neil Torrens.
Neil was informed while visiting the site that a local farmer had inadvertently damaged the large stone when blasting near Muirfauldhouse at Dunconnel.
Muirfauldhouse lies nearer to Dunconnel than Mid Linthills. It is possible that the original site of the stone may have been on Muirfauldhouse farm, rather than Linthills. The earliest evidence for the stone, which comes from the nineteenth-century editor of Wodrow’s History of the Sufferings in 1828, simply states that the stone originally lay ‘near Linthills’.
Towards Dunconnel from near the Peden Stone. Reproduced by the kind permission of Neil Torrens.
It is not clear if Peden or James Renwick preached at the stone. There is no historical evidence beyond the traditional name, that Alexander Peden preached at the stone. There is, however, also a tradition that James Renwick preached there. In a footnote on James Renwick’s preaching at Craig Minnan, the editor adds that ‘There is a similar spot near this, which is looked on by the neighbours with a holy reverence. This spot is near the Lint-hills where Renwick once preached. A large gray stone marked the sacred spot; but this stone was lately removed for some agricultural improvements.’ (Wodrow, History, IV, 448n.)
Renwick may have been the preacher at the site.
The stone was removed from its original site not long before 1828. Its removal may account for why it is not listed in mid nineteenth-century OS Name Book for Lochwinnoch parish.
In a letter of 3 May, 1686, Renwick mentions that he had received unexpected calls to field preach from Renfrew. He may have preached at Dunconnel/Linthills in Lochwinnoch parish between mid 1686 and September, 1687. (Houston (ed), Letters, 193.)
He certainly preached on the boundary of Lochwinnoch parish at Craig Minnan in September, 1687.
Neil has also found and photographed Peden’s Point near Dalry.
He found and photographed both the Peden Stone and Peden’s point as part of the Prophet Peden Summer Challenge, a list of “lost”, very obscure or ‘un-photographed’ sites linked to Peden. If any one wants to make history by finding some of the remaining sites, see here.
Well done, Neil. A great effort!
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