John Nisbet

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John Nisbet (1627–1685) was a Scottish covenanter who was executed for participating in the rebellion at Bothwell Brig.[1] He was a descendant of Murdoch Nisbet, a Lollard who translated the Bible into the Scots language.


He was the son of James Nisbet an Ayrshire tenant farmer at Drakemyre, and his wife, Jane Gibson.[2]

He travelled to mainland Europe where he participated in the Thirty Years' War as a professional soldier. He attended the 1650 coronation of Charles II at Scone, where he subscribed the covenant, swearing his allegiance to ‘all the acts of reformation attained to in Scotland from 1638 to 1649’.[3] After returning to the family home at Hardhill, near Loudoun, he married Margaret Law in 1651.

Nisbet regularly attended illegal field conventicles and participated in the battles at Rullion Green (1666), Drumclog (1679), and Bothwell Brig (1679). He was subsequently declared an outlaw with a substantial reward offered for his capture.

Nisbet was eventually captured at Fenwick and following trial was executed in the Grassmarket in Edinburgh on 4 December 1685.[4] Nisbet is buried at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, and there is a memorial monument at Loudoun Parish Kirk in Newmilns.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wells, V. T. (2004). Nisbet, John (1627–1685). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Howie, J. (1870). The Scots worthies (p. 504), W. H. Carlaw (Ed.).
  4. ^ Sime, W. (1830). History of the Covenanters in Scotland (Vol. 2). Waugh and Innes.

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