Robert Wodrow

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Robert Wodrow (1679 – 21 March 1734) was a Scottish historian.


Robert Wodrow was born at Glasgow, where his father, James Wodrow, was a professor of divinity. Robert was educated at the university and was librarian from 1697 to 1701. From 1703 till his death, he was parish minister at Eastwood, near Glasgow. He had sixteen children, his son Patrick being the "auld Wodrow" of Burns's poem "Twa Herds".[1]


Wodrow's major work, The History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution, was published in two volumes in 1721–1722 (new ed. with a life of Wodrow by Robert Burns, DD, 1807–1808).[1] This recorded and denounced the persecution of the Covenanters after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, including what he called "The Killing Times" . He was one of the first historians to use "publick records, original papers, and manuscripts of that time" and included many first hand accounts of this period in the history of the Church of Scotland, producing a martyrology that the church would turn to again at times of suffering.[citation needed]

As an apprentice, the soon-to-be prominent London bookseller Andrew Millar sent Wodrow book price-lists.[2] As a friend of Millar's father, Wodrow may have helped to apprentice Millar to James McEuen, who was also his friend.

Wodrow also wrote a Life (1828) of his father. He left two other works in manuscript: Memoirs of Reformers and Ministers of the Church of Scotland, and Analecta: or Materials for a History of Remarkable Providences, mostly relating to Scotch Ministers and Christians. Of the former, two volumes were published by the Maitland Club in 1834–1845 and one volume by the New Spalding Club in 1890; the latter was published in four volumes by the Maitland Club in 1842–1843.[1]

Wodrow left a great mass of correspondence, three volumes of which, edited by Thomas McCrie, appeared in 1842–1843. The Wodrow Society, founded in Edinburgh to perpetuate his memory, was in existence from 1841 to 1847, several works being published under its auspices.[1]




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