The Lost Peden’s Tree in Auchinleck Churchyard #History #Scotland
The Covenanter, Alexander Peden, has many caves, stones and trees that tradition associates with him. One tree lay in the old parish church graveyard at Auchinleck. Is the replacement for it still there?
In 1891, Janet, aka Mrs Collins, recorded the fate of Peden’s Tree:
‘Monday morning dawned bright and cheerful, a foretaste of the pleasant hours we spent in the home of Professor Spence in Auchinleck. In the old graveyard, now handsomely kept, is Peden’s tree planted on the spot where the old tree flourished for many years, and was regarded with affection as a silent witness of the desecration of Peden’s resting place. A handsome church building adorns the center of this churchyard, and it is further interesting as the place of sepulture for the Lords of Auchinleck for generations.’ (Mrs Collins, Reminiscences: Or, a Few Glimpses from Over the Sea (1891), 216.)
Which tree is the replacement for Peden’s Tree, or if the replacement tree still stands well over 130 years later, is not clear. If anyone knows which one it is, please get in touch.
Auchinleck graveyard lies on the south side of the town
Monument in churchyard © Copyright Robert Guthrie and reproduced by his very kind permission.
A monument to Peden’s burial, the Airds Moss Martyrs and others lies just inside the gate on the way to the Boswell Mausoleum. It reads as follows:
to the memory of
The Rev. Alexander Peden
The noted Covenanter, born 1626
died and was buried in this
churchyard 1686. His body
after six weeks in the grave
was raised by the Dragoons under
Colonel [James] Douglas and in
contempt was buried at the
foot of the gallows-tree at
Old Cumnock, whch place
afterwards became the
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