Martyr’s Stone

This monument known as the Martyr’s Stone is set into the north east corner wall of Greyfriar’s Cemetery in Edinburgh.

The tomb was erected in 1706. The original structure contained a triangular pediment and two columns with scroll capitals with a large slab of white marble containing text (documented below), and beneath a carving of an open bible containing text from the book of Revelation ending with these words, ‘This tomb was first erected by James Curie, Merchant in Pentland, and others, 1706, renewed 1771.

As can be seen in the photograph hundreds of years of neglect and fierce weather has damaged the monument.

Martyr's Stone
Martyr’s Stone

Halt Passenger, take heed, what you do see,
This tomb doth shew, for what some men did die,
Here lies interred the dust of those who stood
Against perjury, resisting unto blood
Adhering to the Covenants, and laws
Establishing the same, which was the cause
Then lives were sacrificed unto the lust
Of Prelatists abjured. Though here their dust
Lies mixed with murderers, and other crew
Whom justice justly did to death pursue
But as for them, no cause was to be found
Worthy of death, but only they were found.
Constant and steadfast, zealous witnessing
For the Prerogatives of CHRIST their KING.
Which truths were sealed by famous Guthrie’s head
And all along to Mr. Renwick’s blood.
They did endure the wrath of enemies
Reproaches, torments, deaths and injuries
But yet they’re those who from such trouble came
And now triumph in glory with the LAMB.
From May 27th, 1661 that the most noble Marquis
Of Argyle was beheaded to the 17th of February 1688
That Mr. James Renwick suffered, were one way
Or other Murdered and Destroyed for the same cause, about
Eighteen thousand of whom were executed at Edinburgh, about an
Hundred of Noblemen, Gentlemen, Ministers and Others, noble
Martyrs for Jesus Christ. The most of them lie here.
For a particular account of the cause and manner of their Sufferings, see
The Cloud of Witnesses, Crookshanks, and Defoe’s histories.

Note: The National Covenant was a protest by Scottish Presbyterians against Charles I’s preference for a High Anglican form of worship which was considered too Catholic. The most fervent and well known protestors being:
Archibald, Marquis of Argyle
James Renwick, a Presbyterian Minister
James Guthrie, a minister at Stirling.

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