Covenanter Grave St John’s Town of Dalry #History #Scotland


Robert Stewart and John Grierson, St John’s Town of Dalry, Dalry parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1684.

‘The said Claverhouse coming to Galloway, in answer to the Viscount of Kenmures Letter, with a small party surprised Robert Stuart, John Grier, Robert Ferguson, and another, and instantly shot them dead, at the water of Dee, in Gallaway, December 1684. Their Corps being buried, were at his command raised again.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 34-5.)

Stone erected 1702-1714. Key part of the inscription:
‘Here lyeth Robert Stewart son to Major Robert Stewart of Ardoch and John Grierson who were murthered by Graham of Glaverhouse anno 1684 For their adherence to Scotlands Reformation and Covenants National and Solemn League.’

‘Behold! Behold! A stone’s here forc’d to cry
come see two martyrs under me that ly!
At water of Dee who slain were by the hand,
of cruel Claverhouse and’s bloodie band.
No sooner had he done this horrid thing
but’s forc’d to cry, Stewart’s soul in Heaven doth sing
Yet strange! His rage pursued even such when dead
and in the tombs of their ancestors laid;
Causing their corps be rais’d out of the same
discharging in church-yard to bury them
All this they ‘cause they would not perjure
our Covenants and Reformation pure
Because like faithful martyrs to dy
they chus’d then treacherously comply
With cursed prelacie the nations bane
and with indulgencie our churches stain
Perjured intelligencers were so rife
shew’d their curs’d loyalty to take their life.’

Based on Shields, but has additional information. The long poetic inscription blamed intelligencers.

The grave was recorded the first edition of Cloud of Witnesses (1714), but those pages are missing in the copy held by the National Library of Scotland. The following lines come from the second edition of 1720, which copied the first edition:
:‘Upon the grave-stone lying on the corps of Robert Stewart, son to major Robert Stewart of Ardoch, and John Grierson, who were murdered by Graham of Claverhouse, at the water of Dee in Galloway, Anno 1684.’

Map of Grave in St Johns Town of Dalry

~ by drmarkjardine on March 26, 2020.

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