Alexander Forrester (minister)

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Alexander Forrester
Memento Mori, Greyfriars Kirkyard (geograph 3506599).jpg
Skull and Crossbones from the Forrester Enclosure of Greyfriars Kirkyard.[1]
Died26 May 1686(1686-05-26) (aged 74–75)

Alexander Forrester was born in 1611, son of Duncan Forrester and Margaret Ramsay. He was descended from the Forresters of Garden.[2] He graduated with an M.A. from St Andrews University in 1631.[3] He had been "ane conformist in Ireland, preached three quarters of a year in Edinburgh, and been two years with the armie". He was proposed for the parish of Livingston in 1646 but settled in St. Mungo in 1650.[4][5] Refusing to conform to Episcopacy in 1662, he was confined to the parish. He was apprehended for holding a conventicle. He acted as clerk to a General Meeting of Presbyterian ministers in Edinburgh, 24 May 1676.

He was apprehended while preaching the Gospel in Fife, was imprisoned in St Andrews, and, on 3 August 1676, sentenced to the Bass. Released on giving caution to appear when called, a paper found on his person revealed that on 25 May 1676, fifty-three outed ministers met for conference at Edinburgh, and took measures to maintain correspondence throughout the church in the wilderness, and to have young men brought forward for and sent out in the work of the ministry.[6] As Mr Forrester would reveal nothing as to place or persons, he was anew sentenced to imprisonment in the Edinburgh Tolbooth "in a chamber by himself, that no person have access to him except with meat and drink, and that he be not allowed the use of pen, ink, or paper."[7]

He was examined by the Privy Council of Scotland on 8 February 1677, indicted upon the more serious charge of "sedition" — which, however was entirely groundless — and adjudged to imprisonment in the Tolbooth of Edinburgh.[8] A lengthy quotation of the Council's minutes is given by Anderson.[9] He was sent to the Bass Rock on 3 August 1677. Having been liberated, he died at Edinburgh, 28 May 1686.[citation needed]


He married Christian, daughter of Torquil Macneil, and had children — Alexander; John, minister of Stirling; James, advocate, died 1705; William, Society of Writers to Her Majesty's Signet, died 1 October 1701;[10] Elizabeth; Barbara, died aged 18; Christian (married 12 January 1693, George Murray of Murraythwaite).[3]


  • Dumfries and Linlithgow Presbytery Regs.[3]
  • Dumfries Tests.
  • Edinburgh Reg. (Bur.)
  • Wodrow's History, ii., 355 [where he is called Andrew]
  • Monteith's Theater of Mortality, i.
  • Bass Bock
  • Greyfriars Graveyard


  1. ^ Golledge, Charlotte (15 October 2018). Greyfriars Graveyard. Amberley Publishing Limited. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  2. ^ Monteith, Robert (1834). Collection of epitaphs and monumental inscriptions, chiefly in Scotland. Glasgow: Printed for D. Macvean. p. 13. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Scott, Hew (1917). Fasti ecclesiae scoticanae; the succession of ministers in the Church of Scotland from the reformation (Vol. 2 ed.). Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd. p. 221. Retrieved 15 March 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Crichton, Andrew (1826). Memoirs of the Rev. John Blackader (2nd ed.). London: Charles Tait. p. 343. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Kirkbank, Old St Mungo's Parish Church". CANMORE. Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 11 May 2010.
  6. ^ Wodrow, Robert (1832). The history of the sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution (Vol 2 ed.). Glasgow: Blackie. p. 355. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ Porteous, James Moir (1881). The Scottish Patmos. A standing testimony to patriotic Christian devotion. Paisley: J. and R. Parlane. pp. 48–49. Retrieved 3 March 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  8. ^ Dickson, John (1899). Emeralds chased in Gold; or, the Islands of the Forth: their story, ancient and modern. [With illustrations.]. Edinburgh and London: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier. pp. 210–211. Retrieved 3 March 2019. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  9. ^ M'Crie, Thomas, D.D. the younger (1847). The Bass rock: Its civil and ecclesiastic history. Edinburgh: J. Greig & Son. pp. 106–109. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  10. ^ Brown, James (1867). The epitaphs and monumental inscriptions in Greyfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh. Collected by James Brown ... with an introd. and notes. Edinburgh: J. M. Miller. p. 241. Retrieved 15 March 2019.