Swords of the Covenanters: The Andrea Ferrara of Woodburn killed in 1685 #History #Scotland

George Woodburn, a martyr of the Killing Times, was shot at Midland in Fenwick parish in November, 1685. He was killed in the raid that seized John Nisbet of Hardhill. Woodburn’s sword, said to be of the highest craftsmanship, was passed down through his family.


‘George Woodburn’s sword—an Andrea Ferrara, of 40 .1 inches in length—is still in . the possession of one of his descendants, in the farm of [Loudoun] Mains, in the parish of Loudon.’ (Thompson (ed.) Cloud of Witnesses, 549.)

And in more detail, here:

‘Woodburn’s representatives still live in the neighbouring parish of Loudon, at the Mains, a farmhouse about a mile to the north-west of Newmilns, where his sword is still preserved. It is forty and a half inches in length, and has stamped upon it the words “Andrea Ferrara.” It was lately put to the test which it is said all the swords of Andrea de Ferrara will stand. Its point was bent round to the hilt, and on being freed from constraint it at once returned to its wonted straightness. Woodburn had oftener than once been in hiding. It was he who was sent to bring [John] Nisbet of Hardhill to Drumclog. Hence he was a marked man. Tradition relates that on one occasion, when the dragoons came to the Mains in search of him, and soon left without finding him, one of their number, after the rest were gone, returned, and charged the mistress of the house to tell George to cover himself better up the next time he hid himself, for he had seen his foot in the spence, peeping through the straw. (Thompson, Martyr Graves, 108-9.)

I am sure I have recently viewed that sword in a museum or church, but which one it was in escapes me for now. It was not Greyfriars, where Traill’s sword is, or the NMS. If any one knows where it is, please get in touch.

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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

Photo: Midland Farm © Becky Williamson and licensed for reuse.

~ by drmarkjardine on October 18, 2016.

4 Responses to “Swords of the Covenanters: The Andrea Ferrara of Woodburn killed in 1685 #History #Scotland”

  1. Hi , could I have more information on the history of George woodburn. My birth name is woodburn my father is Alan woodburn . Went to archives in Edinburgh and we descend from Ayr. My great great uncle was secretary state of Scotland, arthur woodburn . We traced and have certificate back to coventanters . We currently

  2. Did you ever find out where the sword is?

    – Michael Woodburn
    Melbourne Australia

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