Making History: The ‘Lost’ Bible of Alexander McCubbin, Hanged in 1685 #History #Scotland

In early 1685, Alexander McCubbin was summarily hanged at Hallhill in Irongray parish, probably for suspected involvement in a violent attack on the local minister by some Society people. He appears to have left behind him his Bible, that became a treasured family heirloom.


McCubbin’s Grave at Hallhill, near Irongray © Walter Baxter and licensed for reuse.

Sadly, McCubbin’s bible appears to be lost to History. Or is it? Does it still survive, perhaps owned by someone or was it gifted to an institution? We don’t know. If you know anything about it, please get in touch.

The First and Last Sighting of McCubbin’s Bible
It was probably first recorded in newspaper articles the Reverend Thomson wrote for the Dumfries and Galloway Standard between 1877 and 1894, that were later collected and posthumously published in his Martyr Graves of Scotland (1903):

‘The stationmaster at Elvanfoot, on the main line of the Caledonian railway, is a descendant of Alexander M’Cubbin, and bears his name. He still possesses the martyr’s Bible. It is in good preservation. It is a small folio, dated “Edinburgh: Printed by Andro Hart, and are to be solde at his Buith, on the North Side of the Gates, a little beneath the Crosse. Anno Dom. 1610.”’ (Thomson, Martyr Graves, 483.)

Thomson’s eyewitness testimony was probably recycled in Johnston’s Treasury of the Scottish Covenant in 1887:

‘Alexander M’Cubbin’s Bible. — A small folio, printed by Andro Hart, Edinburgh, and to be “solde at his buith on the north side of the gate, a little beneath the Crosse. Anno Dom., 1610.” Preserved by the station-master at Elvanfoot, a descendant of the martyr. (Johnston, Treasury of the Covenant, 640.)


Andro Hart’s Bible of 1610

McCubbin’s bible was a Geneva, or ‘Breeches’, Bible like that of Peter Gemmell, but it was also unusual. Published in 1610, it was only the second edition of the Bible printed in Scotland and the product of a skilled bookbinder, Andro Hart. The antiquity of that bible in 1685, suggests that Alexander McCubbin’s kin had purchased it long before he was born.

McCubbin, The Station Master
The last person we know who owned it was McCubbin, the station master at Elvanfoot in Lanarkshire. His full name was James McCubbin. Born in 1840, he died in 1927.


James McCubbin in later life © McCubbin’s family.

He served the Caledonian Railway for thirty-four years as the station master at Crawford and Elvanfoot. According to this post, he was an elder in the Church and is buried at Elvanfoot churchyard:

‘The headstone is worn and made of granite and bares the initials J McC which is made in lead lettering . His name was James McCubbin and he was station master at Elvanfoot. He is interred with first wife below him and second wife on top of him. He died in 1927 and owned properties in Crawford, including Ivy Lodge, Station Master’s house. Apparently he has a plaque in the church.’

‘Old Mac’ seems to have been ‘quite a character’. For a full account of him, see about a third of the way down this page.

The station at Elvanfoot, that lay on what is now the West Coast Mainline, has been obliterated. We can only hope that McCubbin’s Bible has not suffered the same fate.

For more ‘Making History’ posts, where you can help make discoveries, see here.

See also the Lost Alexander Peden Chest in Brisbane.

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


~ by drmarkjardine on September 29, 2016.

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