The Covenanters were those who signed the National Covenant to show their opposition to the crown interfering in matters of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland.
It was the mid-17th century and the ruling kings were the Stuarts who believed that God intended them to be infallible rulers of the country. Along with the Divine Right of Monarch they also believed they were the spiritual heads of the Church of Scotland. It was this belief that was the core issue that resulted in the Covenanting struggle.
The Presbyterians believed that only Jesus Christ could be the spiritual head of a Christian church, and would not accept that anyone else could be.
Presbyterians opposing King Charles I wish to enforce Episcopacy on the country, which led to fifty years of persecution and killings known as the ‘Killing Times’ until William of Orange’s invasion in 1688.
Throughout Carrick there were settlements that were sufficiently secluded to serve as favourite places for Covenanters to avoid persecution during the ‘Killing Times’. Often Covenanting Communion were held in such places out of the watchful eye of the crown.
Due to the higher numbers of covenanters in this part of the country, Carrick had its martyrs, two of which are buried at Barrhill, where today a monument along with an inscription can be found alongside one of the Barrhill trails.
The inscription reads:
To the memory of
HERE in this place two martyrs lie
Whose blood to heaven hath a loud cry
Murder d contrary to Divine laws
For owning of King Jesus cause
By bloody Drummond they were shot
Without any trial near this spot.’
The crown’s forces found them with bibles, which in their eyes proved them to be guilty of Covenanting. Without any trial, John Murchie and Daniel Meiklewrick were killed and left where they lay. That night under the cover of darkness two local women came and buried the bodies.
Like Barrhill many other Carrick communities have an extensive Covenanting history.
Top: A conventicle or gathering of Covenanters worshipping in secret
Bottom: Martyrs’ Tomb
© James Allan and thanks to Geograph