Covenanter Grave Priesthill near Muirkirk #History #Scotland


John Brown, Priesthill, Muirkirk parish, Ayrshire.

‘Item, The said Claverhouse in May, 1685: apprehended John Broun in priest-hill, in the parish of Moorkirk, in the shire of Air, being at his work, about his own house, and shot him dead before his own door, in presence of his Wife.’ (A Short Memorial, 35.)

Stone erected 1702-1714. Inscription:
‘Here lies the body of John Brown martyr who was murdered in this place by Graham of Claverhouse for his testimony to the Covenanted work of Reformation Because he durst not own the authority of the then Tyrant destroying the same, who died the first day of May A.D. 1685 and of his age 58.’

The poem is an acrostic of his name:

‘In deaths cold bed the dusty part here lyes
Of one who did the earth as dust despise
Here in this place from earth he took departure
Now he has got the garland of the martyr
Butchered by Clavers and his bloody band
Raging most ravenously over all the land
Only for owning Christ’s supremacy
Wickedly wronged by encroaching Tyranny
Nothing now near soever he to good
Esteemed, nor dear for any truth his blood.’

Perhaps based on Shields, but it does add the detail of his age and a precise date for his summary execution on 1 May, 1685.

Grave record in Cloud of Witnesses (1st edition, 1714, 287.):
‘Upon a Stone lying on the Corps of John Brown who lived in the Parish of Moor-kirk, who was shot dead by Graham of Claver-house at his own door May 1. 1685. and lyes buried there in the open Field’


Map of Grave at Priesthill


~ by drmarkjardine on April 12, 2020.

8 Responses to “Covenanter Grave Priesthill near Muirkirk #History #Scotland”

  1. So who was the John Brown or Broun who was shot about the same time and buried at Blackwood, Lesmahagow, and not in Muirkirk, Ayrshire? This is important to me for if from Lesmahagow then John Brown may have been related to Grissel Brown who was in the Snowball Tumult in Glasgow 1689 and a likely ancestor. A Grissel Broun was the grandmother of Jean Brown who married my ancestor George Draffan of Douglas and Lesmahagow.

  2. Addendum Could be very significant that Grissel Gall was christened on 2 October 1677 at Muirkirk, father Archbald Gall, and one John Brown was buried at Muirkirk.

  3. They published the story of John Brown of Muirkirk in 1828. I expect you have read it, but in case not –

  4. The visit to John Brown’s memorial was an adventure and ended with a sudden monsoon. By the time we returned to car we could wring out our clothes.
    It also gave a salutary lesson how much the weather played a part in the events if the time. An expedition to remember

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