Covenanter Grave Anwoth #History #Scotland


John Bell of Whiteside. Anwoth parish, Kirkcudbrightshire. Died 1685.

‘Sir Robert Grierson of Lag, having command of a part of Claverhouses Troop & Strauchans Dragoons, surprised Jo. Bell of Whiteside, David Haliday portioner of Mayfield, Andrew Macrabeit, James Clement, and Robert Lennox of Irlintown, and barbarously killed them after Quarters, without time allowed to pray; when John Bell of Whiteside begged a little time to pray, Lag answered, What Devil have you been doing? Have you not prayed enough these many years in the hills? and so shot him presently in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, Febr, 1685.’ (Shields, A Short Memorial, 37-8.)

Covenanter Grave Anwoth John Bell

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:

‘Here lyes John Bell of Whitesyde who was barbarously shot to death in the paroch of Tongland at the command of Grier of Lag 1685.’

‘This monument shall tell posterity
That blessed Bell of Whitesyde here doth ly
Who at command of bloody Lag was shot
A murder strange which should not be forgot
Douglas of Morton did him quarters give
Yet cruel Lag would not let him survive
This martyr sought some time to recommend
His soul to God, before his days did end
The tyrrant said, What, devil! Ye’ve pray’d enough
This long seven year on mountain and in cleuch
So instantly caus’d him with other four
Be shot to death upon Kirconnel moor
So thus did end the lives of these dear sants
For their adherence to the Covenants.’

Based on Shields, but contains new information about Douglas of Morton and the location on Kirkconnel Moor.

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 in the church yard of Anwith, lying on the corps of John Bell of Whiteside, who was most barbarously shot to death at the command of Douglas of Morton and Grierson of Lagg, in the parish of Tongland in Galloway, Anno 1685.‘

Map of Grave at Anwoth Old Kirk

~ by drmarkjardine on March 29, 2020.

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