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Adhering to the Covenants and Laws,
“ From May 27th, 1661, that the noble Marquis of Argyle suffered, to the 17th of February 1688, that Mr James Renwick suffered, were execute at Edinburgh, about an hundred of noblemen, gentlemen, ministers, and others, noble martyrs for Jesus Christ. The most part of them lies here. This tomb was erected anno 1706."
Upon the foot of the monument stands a crown, with this inscription: “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
[This, well known as the Martyrs' Monument, is at the northeast corner of the Greyfriars churchyard, near the spot at one time appropriated to the bodies of criminals. The Rev. William Goold, minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Congregation in Edinburgh, from 1804 to 1844, told the writer that the grave-diggers were ordered by the authorities to bury the remains of the martyrs among those of murderers and other criminals who had been interred there. The grave-diggers, however, secretly sympathised with the cause for which the martyrs suffered, and took care that while burying their remains in the corner, it should yet be in a part of it where the body of no criminal had ever been laid, so that the dust of the two could not in any way intermingle. The opposite seems to be stated on the monument itself, but Mr Goold was a man of antiquarian tastes, and from his long connection with the Reformed Presbyterian Churchhe was in his sixty-ninth year when he died in 1844---was the very person to have heard and to have sifted its traditions.
The present monument was erected in 1771, in place of an older and smaller one erected in 1706, by James Currie, merchant in Pentland. This older monument is still in existence in the possession of a representative of Charles Fairnington, the stone-cutter who put up the present one. It is in excellent preservation, and the inscription has been verified from it. James Currie was a worthy member of the united societies. His name is at the call the societies
in 1706 to Rev. John M‘Millan of Balmaghie. He suffered much during the persecution, and had more than one narrow escape for his life. He has left a record in "Passages in the life of James Currie," which, along with a similar tract by his like minded wife, Helen Alexander, have been recently issued in a small volume by one of his descendants, C. U. Aitchison, Esq., of the Indian Civil Service. The records of the Edinburgh Town Council, under date 28th August 1706, contain the substance of the memorial asking permission to erect the monument. It craves that the Council would allow the said monument “to be put up without paying of anything to the Kirk Treasurer as was done at Glasgow and other places of the nation.” The Council granted the prayer of the memorial.
We have given the original inscription as on the old monument and as in the first edition of the “Cloud." The inscription on the present monument differs somewhat in arrangement of its paragraphs from that on the old, but otherwise it is substantially the same.—ED.)
N a GRAVESTONE in HAMILTON CHURCHYARD.
“At Hamilton lie the heads of John Parker, Gavin Hamilton, James Hamilton, and Christopher Strang, who suffered at Edinburgh, December 7th, 1666.
Stay, passenger, take notice what thou reads;
“ Renewed 1828."
[The monument is built into the east wall of the churchyard ; and the grotesque appearance of the four sculptured heads, that
come in between its prose and rhyme, is one of the first objects to arrest the eye on entering the enclosure. It is a slab of freestone, four feet two inches in length, by two feet eight inches in breadth.
John Parker was a waulker [i.e., a fuller of cloth) in East Kilbride ; Gavin Hamilton, a tenant in Carluke ; James Hamilton, in Killiemuir; and Christopher Strang, in East Kilbride. All four were taken prisoners at Pentland. They were tried at Edinburgh before the Council, and were sentenced to be hanged at Edinburgh, on December 7th, 1666 ; and after they were dead, their heads and right hands to be cut off, and disposd of as the Lords of Privy Council should think fit. “Naphtali” contains the joint testimony of the four, and other six condemned along with them.-ED.]
IN a STONE in the High CHURCHYARD, GLASGOW.
“ Here lies the corps of Robert Bunton, John Hart, Robert Scott, Matthew Patoun, John Richmond, James Johnstoun, Archibald Stewart, James Winning, John Main, who suffered at the Cross of Glasgow, for their testimony to the Covenants and work of Reformation, because they durst not own the authority of the then tyrants, destroying the same betwixt 1666 and 1688.
“ Years sixty-six and eighty-four,
Did send their souls home into glore,
“ The original stone and inscription repaired and new lettered, 1827, at the expense of a few friends of the cause for which the martyrs suffered."
[From the memorial to the Edinburgh Town Council, asking permission to erect the monument in the Greyfriars', it appears that the stone in Glasgow High Churchyard had been erected previous to 1706. This stone, from which the above inscription has been copied, was lying on its side against the wall of the churchyard when we visited it in 1866; but the inscription has been transferred to the outside of the north wall of the Cathedral. The testimonies of John Richmond, James Johnston, Archibald Stewart, James Winning, and John Main are in the “ Cloud.” Robert Bunton, or Buntine, was a native of Fenwick, where a monument has recently been erected to his memory. John Hart was a native of Glassford. Robert Scott belonged to Dalserf. Matthew Patoun was a shoemaker in Newmilns. All were at Pentland. They were tried at Glasgow, December 17, 1666, and were hanged on the 19th. Wodrow says that at their execution the men were most cheerful, and had much of sense of the Divine love upon them, and a great deal of peace in their sufferings.-ED.)
IN a STONE at INCHBELLY BRIDGE, KIRKINTILLOCH.
“ 'Twas martyrs blood bought Scotland's liberty. Erected, February 1865, in room of the old tombstone, by the people of Kirkintilloch and neighbourhood. Original inscription : In this field lies the corpse of John Wharry and James Smith, who suffered in Glasgow, 13 June 1683, for their adherence to the Word of God, and Scotland's Covenanted Work of Reformation : 'And they overcame them by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Rev. xii. 11).
“Halt, courteous passenger, and look on
Our bodies dead, & lying under this stone.
There we our lives and right hands also lost.
[The monument is about three quarters of a mile to the east of Inchbelly Bridge, on the road between Kirkintilloch and Kilsyth. The original monument is a flat stone, six feet by three, and alongside of it is the new one, and both are enclosed under an iron grating The inscription on the old monument, when we visited it in October 1866, so far as we could trace it out, seemed identical with that on the new by its side, yet it differs considerably from the following one, that given in the first edition of the “ Cloud," which is three lines shorter, and has all the appearance of being a correct transcript. The probability is, that what is called on the new stone “the old tombstone" is not much older than this century, and that it is the successor of an older one on which may have been inscribed the following epitaph :
Halt, passenger, read here upon this stone