John Brown (Covenanter)

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John Brown (1627–1685), also known as the Christian Carrier, was a Protestant Covenanter from Priesthill, a few miles from Muirkirk in Ayrshire, Scotland. He became a Presbyterian martyr in 1685.

Acrostic poem engraved on Brown's gravestone.

Life[edit]

He lived in a desolate place called Priestfield or Priesthill 55°33′38″N 4°00′53″W / 55.560464°N 4.014718°W / 55.560464; -4.014718Coordinates: 55°33′38″N 4°00′53″W / 55.560464°N 4.014718°W / 55.560464; -4.014718, in the upland parish of Muirkirk in Kyle, Ayrshire, where he cultivated a small piece of ground and acted as a carrier. Wodrow describes him as 'of shining piety,' and one who had 'great measures of solid digested knowledge, and had a singular talent of a most plain and affecting way of communicating his knowledge to others.' He had fought against the government at the battle of Bothwell Bridge (1679); he refused to 'hear the episcopal ministers,' he instructed the people in the principles of his church, and he was on intimate terms with the leaders of the persecuted party. In 1682, Alexander Peden, one of the chief of these, united him in marriage to his second wife, Marion Weir, and on this occasion Peden, according to Walker, foretold the husband's early and violent end. 'Keep linen by you for his winding-sheet,' he added.[1]

In 1685, Brown was captured (along with his nephew, one 'John Brownen') by a Troop of Horse under the command of Graham of Claverhouse, Brown's house was searched where 'bullets, match and treasonable documents' were found.[2] Brown was offered the chance to take the Oath of Abjuration. Brown refused to swear that he would not take up arms against the King.

At the time, failure to take the Oath was a capital offence, defying the King was high treason; this was a fact of which Brown was well aware. Brown was then executed. 'John Brownen' then made testimony that John Brown had in fact been 'in armes' at Drumclog and Bothwell Bridge. An underground house was discovered which contained weapons which Brown stated belonged to his uncle - John Brown.[3][4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Watt 1886.
  2. ^ Mark Napier - Memorials and letters illustrative of life and times of John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount Dundee (1859)
  3. ^ Charles Sandford Terry - "John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount of Dundee, 1648-1689" (1905)
  4. ^ Mark Napier - Memorials and letters illustrative of life and times of John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount Dundee (1859)
Attribution

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainWatt, Francis (1886). "Brown, John (1627?-1685)". In Stephen, Leslie. Dictionary of National Biography 7. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 

References[edit]

  • Mark Napier - Memorials and letters illustrative of life and times of John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount Dundee (1859)
  • Charles Sandford Terry - "John Graham of Claverhouse, viscount of Dundee, 1648-1689" (1905)
  • Mowbray Morris - "John Graham" (1887)
  • Alistair and Henrietta Tayler, John Graham of Claverhouse. London: Duckworth (1939).