Making History: Hepburn’s Chair Lost near Lochmaben #History
Can you find and photograph a lost Covenanter site near Lochmaben? Can you make history? Today, ‘Hepburn’s Chair’ has vanished from the OS map, but over 150 years ago, it did appear on the first edition OS map near the top of what is now Thorniethwaite Hill.
Is it still there? Can you find it?
According to the OS Name Book of the mid nineteenth century:
‘About 2¼ miles S.W. of Lochmaben. A rock of the shape of a chair and situated upon the summit of Thorniewhat Hill. The name has been established from time immemorial. Supposed to have been used by a preacher named Hepburn during the period of the persecution [i.e., in the Restoration, between 1660 and 1688]. He is said to have stood on this stone to address his hearers.’
The preacher was John Hepburn, who was later the leader of the Hebronites. Hepburn did not accept the Societies’ Sanquhar Declaration of 1680, which forfeited the King, rejected his authority and declared ‘war’ on his regime. He was a key figure in a schism within the United Societies in 1682.
Hepburn’s Chair lay close to Carthat, the home of the Societies’ activist James Forsyth, who was later banished to the American Colonies. Carthat lies to the south of Hepburn’s Chair. The evidence of two female Society people from near Carthat. Jean Irvine and Rachel Black, appears to confirm that a dispute took place either between, or within, the Society people in the Carthat area as both women testified against Hepburn many years later.
Both women also claim to have heard James Renwick (d.1688) field preach in Annandale and Black stated that she had heard John Welsh (d.1681), the former minister of Irongray, preach on ‘Torthorwald Muir’, which appears to indiate the area around Hepburn’s Chair. The evidence suggests that this area was a, if not the, key centre for field preaching in Annandale.
Hepburn’s Seat was described as ‘a rock of the shape of a chair’ and ‘situated upon the summit’ or near the summit of, Thorniethwaite Hill.
It lay approximately close to this location. You can check that here by moving the arrow onto the chair. The slider on the right should show the modern google map below it.
Can you find and photograph this lost piece of history?
If you do, let me know via the contact email or twitter (for latter see below). I will update the blog to record your discovery.
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