The Covenanter James Renwick’s Tree in Moniaive #History #Scotland

Renwick Tree 2Renwick’s Tree in 2006

It is a curious fact, that James Renwick, the minister of the Covenanters, has remarkably few places named after him considering his central role in their struggle in the 1680s. That stands in marked contrast to Alexander Peden, whom Renwick opposed, who has a plethora of trees, caves and stones associated with him. One reason for that may be that Peden’s wanderings through the landscape had a superb and evocative publicist in the form of Patrick Walker, whose Life of Peden was a very popular work in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

One place where Renwick is remembered in the landscape is at his place of birth, Moniaive, in his native parish of Glencairn in Dumfriesshire. There a monument was erected ‘about 100 yards from the place where he is supposed to have been born’ just over the hill to the north of the monument.

Thanks to Evelyn Boyes who posted about Renwick’s Tree on the ‘Moniaive, Dunscore and the Cairn Valley down to Newbridge’ Facebook page, we can now add another and more interesting site dedicated to Renwick at Moniaive.

Renwick TreeRenwick’s Tree Replanted

According to Evelyn:

‘A gean, or wild cherry tree, was said to stand on the site of the garden of Renwick’s birthplace. A replacement tree was planted in the 20th century.’

‘The first photo [above] is of the [re]planting ceremony. I am afraid I can’t find my reference to the date [of the replanting ceremony] at the moment.’

The original ‘gean, or wild cherry tree’ appears to have been replaced at some point soon after 1910.

Map of Renwick’s Tree

Aerial View of Renwick’s Tree

The original tree was first recorded in 1910:

‘James Renwick was born in a cottage on the lands of Neise, near Moniaive, on the 15th day of February, 1662. No trace of the cottage itself remains, but an aged gean tree is said to occupy what was once a corner of the garden plot, and almost within living memory some of the gooseberry bushes still occupied the ground. The cottage was, no doubt, one of several which, tradition tells us, stood near the old line of roadway on the side of the Schlenders Hill’ (Corrie, Glencairn (Dumfriesshire); the annals of an inland parish (1910), 65.)


‘THE SCLENERS OR SCHLENDERS. A name applied to the roadway running past Broomfield in the direction of James Renwick’s birthplace. It is said that a line of houses once stood here. The name “Scleners” means “shingle on the face of a cliff,” and was no doubt descriptive of the place at the time it was bestowed.’ (Corrie, Glencairn, 160.)

Finding Renwick’s Tree
From the road in Moniaive known as “The Course” there is a track, known as The Schlenders, that leads off uphill between Broomfield and Broomfield Bank. The tree is in the field beside it near the end on the north side and just behind the wall. The tree stands on the other side of the hill that the monument is located on.

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~ by drmarkjardine on July 11, 2016.

2 Responses to “The Covenanter James Renwick’s Tree in Moniaive #History #Scotland”

  1. […] in Edinburgh is a casket made from the Covenanter James Renwick’s Gean, or wild cherry tree, the original of which was replaced at the beginning of Twentieth Century (see […]

  2. […] entry above is quoted at Dr Mark Jardine’s blog about the tree. It notes that a replacement tree was planted at some point after 1910. There is a […]

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