The Covenant and Royalists, pp.87-91.

[Scottish National Memorials Contents]

   Of the numerous relics shown in the Bishop’s Castle comparatively few belonged to the earlier part of this period; and the two which are to be first mentioned would be excluded from it were the line to be rigidly drawn. While, however, some parts of this period are scantily represented, others are almost profusely illustrated, and that by articles of interest and importance. 

   A SMALL CARVED CHAIR, with tapestry seat, which belonged to Queen Anne of Denmark, and which was formerly in Holyrood Palace. 

(316) Lent by MRS. E. SCOTT. 

   LICENCE, by the King, to Sir Duncan Campbell – commonly called Black Duncan – the seventh Laird of Glenurchy, to repair to Kinghorn, and there to remain for two days, to confer with those whom he is to employ as cautioners for him anent the payment to John and Robert Arnollis of twenty-five thousand merks, notwithstanding the Act whereby he is bound to keep ward within the burgh of Edinburgh and two miles thereabout. Dated ‘the [blank] day of October 1602,’ and signed, ‘James R.’ This Sir Duncan ‘was, if not the first of Scotchmen, the very foremost of Highland proprietors, to turn his attention to the rural improvement of his country’ (Innes’ Sketches of Early Scotch History, 1861, pp. 345, 346); and nearly the half of the Black Book of Taymouth is occupied by lists of the lands ‘he conquesit,’ the tochers he paid, and the deeds by which he distinguished himself. Bowie, the writer of that chronicle, throws light on the necessity of the King’s licence, when he states that Sir Duncan was warded in Edinburgh Castle, in June 1601, ‘throch the occasioun of certane fals leis and forged inventis of ane Donald Monteith, alias Baroun, of Curquhyn, and ane uther callit Patrik McQuene, ane deboysched and depryved minister,’ in consequence of which he was kept in ward until he paid forty thousand merks to the King’s ‘gredie courteouris.’ 

(361) Lent by the MARQUIS OF BREADALBANE. 

   MINIATURES, of Charles I. and Queen Henrietta Maria, beautifully executed by the famous Petitot, in a tortoiseshell case, with silver plate inscribed ‘H. Walpole, Strawberry Hill.’ 


   LETTER, from Charles I., addressed ‘To our trustie and welbeloved the Laird of [Grant – altered into] Gleanturquhye,’ stating that he has given warrant to Alexander McNaughton, gentleman of our privy chamber in ordinary, ‘for levying two hundreth bow-men in that our kingdome for our service in the warr, wherein wee are engadged with France, and being informed that the persones in those high countries are ordinarlie good bow-men: wee are hereby well pleased to desire yow to use your best meanes to cause levy such a nomber of them for our said servant as possiblie yow can.’ Dated, at Windsor, 12th August 1627, and superscribed ‘Charles R.’ Printed in the Black Book of Taymouth, 1855, p. 437.*

(362) Lent by the MARQUIS OF BREADALBANE. 

   SCOTTISH CORONATION MEDAL of Charles I., who was crowned in the Abbey Church of Holyrood on the 18th of June 1633. For contemporary accounts of the ceremony, see Spalding’s Memorialls, Spald. Club, i. 36; and Balfour’s Historical Works, ii. 199,** iv. 357.359. The three varieties of this medal by Nicolas Briot – an eminent French medallist, who two years later was appointed master of the mint in Scotland – are minutely described in Cochran-Patrick’s Catalogue of the Medals of Scotland, pp. 18, 19; and in Hawkins’s Medallic Illustrations of British History, i. 265, 266. The bust of Charles is to the left. Legend – CAROLVS • D • O • SCOTIÆ • ANGLIÆ • FR • ET • HIB • REX. Reverse – Thistle and rose tree combined. Leg. – HINC • NOSTRÆ • CREVERE • ROSÆ. Exergue – CORON • 18 • IVNII • 1633 • R.1 Diameter 1 ⅒ inches. This variety is not uncommon. 


   CHARLES I. BIBLE. 1639. 

The Holy Bible. Authorised Version. 

Printed at London by Robert Barker 

Printer to ye Kings most excellent 

Matie and by the Assignes of 

John Bill 

Anno 1639.’ 

   Folio. Engraved Title: Red-lined throughout. New Testament is of date 1632. Prefixed are, ‘The Genealogies recorded in the Sacred Scriptures, according to euery familie and Tribe… by J[ohn] S[peed] cum privilegio.’ It contains the Apocrypha, but not the metrical Psalms. The distinguishing feature of this copy is its truly magnificent binding, the workmanship of the nuns of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire, who presented it to Charles the First. It is a most elaborate and highly artistic specimen of sewed work. on each side there are the royal arms and the initials ‘C. R.’; while instead of clasps there are silk ribbons, which are also richly decorated. 

   ‘Mr. Nicholas Ferrar… had founded a religious house at Little Gidding, in Huntingdonshire, or, as it was called in the world, the “Protestant Nunnery,” in which he lived with his mother and several nephews and nieces, in the practice of good works and the worship of God. Extraordinary attention had been attracted to this establishment by the accounts of the strange and holy life of its inmates; and still more by the notice which the King had condescended to take of it, not only visiting it on his journey to Scotland, in 1633, but also requesting and accepting presents of devotional books, which it was part of the occupation of the family to prepare’ (John Inglesant, vol. i. chap. iv.). 

(320) Lent by the MARQUIS OF BUTE. 

   PORTRAIT of Alexander Henderson, the leader of the Second Reformation, who was born in Creich in 1583, and was educated at St. Andrews University, where he taught until 1612, when he was presented to Leuchars. His remarkable conversion led him to espouse the cause of down-trodden Presbyterianism, and in 1618 he opposed the ‘five articles’ in Perth Assembly. With many others he particularly resented the high-handed manner in which Laud sought to impose the Book of Canons, the Book of Ordination, and the Book of Common Prayer, on the Scottish Church, and in the course of the struggle which ensued he was ever to the front. His connection with the National Covenant, the Glasgow Assembly, and the Solemn League and Covenant, will be afterwards referred to. He accompanied the Scottish army to Duns Law, and took part in the Pacification at Berwick in 1639; he was one of the Commissioners sent to the Treaty of Ripon, 1640; he was sent as a Commissioner to Oxford in 1643; and in 1645 he was appointed to assist the Commissioners of both Parliaments in their Treaty with the King at Uxbridge. Thrice he was chosen Moderator of the General Assembly, namely, in 1638, in 1641, and in 1643; and as one of the Scottish Commissioners he took a prominent part in the debates of the Westminster Assembly. After Charles the First threw himself into the Scottish camp, Henderson was sent for as the most fit to remove his difficulties concerning Episcopacy, but the task was a hopeless one; and weary and worn out by ceaseless work and anxiety he returned to Edinburgh, where, eight days after his arrival, he died on the 19th of August 1646. During the previous nine years nearly all the principal Presbyterian papers were either drafted or polished by him. He has been greatly and deservedly honoured for his tact, statesmanship and patriotism; in the words of Principal Baillie, he was ‘the fairest ornament, after John Knox of incomparable memory, that ever the Church of Scotland did enjoy.’ This oil painting is life-size and three-quarters length. The countenance is very striking, and bears a strong expression of earnest gravity, the result no doubt of the troubled times through which he steered his beloved Church. 

(377) Lent by the DUKE OF HAMILTON. 

   LETTER, from Alexander Henderson to the Countess of Mar, written in a small clear hand, and relating to the inexpediency of his removal ‘from this pairt of the countrie.’ He entreats her ‘to acquiesce concerning this particular in God’s good providence, and in the resolution of such as can judge best what is most behoovefull for the good of the whole, which should be preferred to the benefit of any particular congregation.’ Signed ‘Your Ladyship’s true servant Alexr Henryson’; and dated ‘[Leuchers – deleted] Cuper, June 16, 1632.’ It bears no address, but this and another letter of his, apparently on the same subject, are printed in full in the Fourth Report of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, pp. 527, 528. The other is addressed to ‘The truelie noble and most Christian lady, my lady the Countesse of Mar,’ and although dated June 26, 1631, was probably written first. Sir William Fraser there expresses the opinion that Lady Mar had proposed his translation to another parish of which Lord Mar was the patron. Few of Henderson’s letters are extant. 


   Original Copy of the NATIONAL COVENANT, signed at Ayr. The meetings of the ‘tables’ or committees, which the petitioners against Laud’s innovations had appointed with the approval of the Privy Council, having been prohibited by royal proclamation, it was determined to strengthen their union by renewing the Covenant. That Covenant, commonly called ‘The King’s Confession,’ or ‘the Negative Confession,’ was drawn up by John Craig; and was first sworn by James the Sixth, his household and others, on the 28th of January 1580-1. ‘This,’ says Row, ‘wes the touch-stone to try and discern Papists from Protestants.’ (See a copy of it, carefully collated by Laing, in Wod. Soc. ed. of Row’s Historie, pp. 74-77.) It had been again signed by King James at several periods. Henderson of Leuchars and Johnstone of Warriston were now appointed to make such additions to it as the change of the times and the present occasion required. As thus enlarged it was sworn and signed with great enthusiasm by vast multitudes of all classes, in the Churchyard of the Grey Friars, Edinburgh, on the 28th of February 1638; and next day it was subscribed by three hundred ministers, as well as commissioners of burghs. On the 2d of March: ‘It was concludit, that a copie of the Confessione sould be provydit for ilk shire, balzierie, stewardrie, or distinct judicatorie, wherat may be all the hands of the principall persons in the saids circuits, and a particular one to be drawne for ilk parosche within the said judicatories, wherat may be all the hands of the persons in the said parosche that ar admitted to the sacrament; and these who cannot subscryve themselves, that a couple of nottars shall subscryve for them’ (Rothes’ Relation, Bannatyne Club, pp. 79, 80). The members of ‘The Tables’ – nobles, barons, burgesses, and ministers – adhibited their names to the copies thus sent over the country. A few towns for some time refused to sign; but before the middle of May it had practically been taken by the whole nation. This copy, written on a large sheet of parchment (greatest breadth 28 ¼ inches, extreme length 34 inches) by George Maxwell, is signed by Rothes, Montrose, Cassillis, Lothian, Balmerino, Erskine of Dun, Cunninghamhead, William Hume of Ayton, and many more of the nobles and barons. It also bears a great many local names, beginning with Robert Blair, minister of Ayr, whose signature is followed by nearly two hundred and thirty others, then about one hundred and seventy-five names have been written by the notary, at the bottom of the sheet, on the 13th of March 1638; and on the back there are nearly one hundred and thirty additional signatures. Among the names almost immediately succeeding Blair’s are those of fully a dozen commissioners for other towns; and there are also those of the Provost, Dean of Guild, and two bailies of Ayr. But Blair is not the only one who signs as minister of Ayr, for Annan and Fergushil appear in the same capacity. Poor Annan had been rabbled by the Glasgow matrons in the previous autumn, for preaching in defence of the Liturgy; and though he now ‘took the Covenant’ he soon resiled from it, and was deposed by the Glasgow Assembly in next December. As Fergushil was not admitted to Ayr until the 14th of November 1639 (Scott’s Fasti, ii. 88), his signature conclusively shows that the names were not all written at one time. Blair, indeed, although signing above Annan, was not admitted to Ayr until July 1638, while Annan certainly signed before the 5th of the previous April (Baillie’s Letters, i. 62). 


   Another Original Copy of the NATIONAL COVENANT, written on vellum, and measuring 37 inches by 28 ½. This copy is much cleaner than the other, and is in a very good state of preservation. At one time it seems to have been nailed on a board, the marks of the nails remaining along the margins. Like many other copies it is marked on the back, ‘The Confessioun of Faithe’; and there too it bears the number ‘68,’ but the figures are not contemporary. It differs from the Ayr copy in several respects. All the names are autographs, there are none on the back, and it contains nothing whereby it can be localised. Most of the signatures are perfectly clear, some are rather indistinct, and a few are quite illegible. Nearly a score of nobles sign, including Rothes, Eglintoun, Cassillis, Montrose, Balcarres, Lothian, Elcho, Dalhousie, Boyd, Yester, Wemyss, Fraser, and Forrester. Then follow Rig of Atherny, Foulis of Colinton, Dundas of that Ilk, Graeme of Morphie, Grahame of Hiltoun, Cunninghamhead, Erskine of Dun, Hamilton of Binning, Graeme of Menzie, and about fifty others. These again are followed by fully seventy names, all, or nearly all, of ministers. They served in at least sixteen different shires, from Moray in the north to Kirkcudbright in the south, and from Dumbarton in the west to Berwick in the east; and at least twenty-three of them were members of the Glasgow Assembly. They include Robert Douglas of Kirkcaldy, James Sharp of Govan, Andrew Cant of Pitsligo, George Gillespie of Wemyss,2 William Row of Forgandenny, James Thomson of Kilmany, and Andrew Ramsay of Edinburgh. On the 20th of December 1688, the Glasgow Assembly, in an Act concerning the Covenant, declared that – ‘The Assembly alloweth and approveth the same in all the heads and articles thereof, and ordaineth that all ministers, masters of universities, colledges, and schooles, and all others who have not already subscribed the said Confession and Covenant, shall subscribe the same, with these words prefixed to the subscription, viz.: The article of this Covenant, which wes at the first subscription referred to the determinatione of the Generall Assembly, being now determined at Glasgow in December 1638, and therby the fyve articles of Perth and the governement of the Kirk by bishops being declared to be abjured and removed, the civill places and power of kirkmen declared to bee unlawfull, Wee subscryve according to the determination of the said free and lawfull Generall Assembly holden at Glasgow.’ In this copy the words italicised are written in a large bold hand at the foot of the document, extending from side to side, and filling nearly two lines. A long slip has apparently been cut from the vellum immediately underneath at the left hand, and in the right-hand corner there are other twelve signatures of ministers, at least four of whom had already signed above, namely, Aitkenhead of North Berwick, Blackhall of Aberlady, Ker of Salt-Preston, and Oswald of Pencaitland. It does not seem at all probable that the two lines would have been written so boldly so near the bottom; and it is therefore extremely likely that a considerable portion of the vellum has been cut off; but possibly it was coveted because
 unwritten on. Original copies of this Covenant are by no means uncommon. Mr. David Laing,
 in 1847, enumerated twenty-five of those he had examined, and afterwards described other two
 (Proceedings of the Soc. of Antiq. of Scot. iv. 246-248; xii. 64, 216). The extract already given
 from Rothes’ Relation shows why there were so many; and Brown of Wamphray thus explains 
why some copies do not bear local signatures:- ‘Such willingness was among the nobles 
and others, that they had their own copies of the Covenant, subscribed by others of the nobles,
 barons, and ministry, laid up in their charter chists, where possibly many of them are at this
 day’ (Apologeticall Relation, 1665, p. 48). 


It is now the property of the Kelvingrove Museum, Glasgow. 

1  The initial of Briot on this specimen is liker R, but perhaps it is slightly defective. 

2  Gillespie was not ordained at Wemyss until the 26th of April 1638 (Scott’s Fasti, ii. 561); but Matthew Wemyss of the Canongate, whose name also occurs, seems to have signed the Covenant on the 16th of March in that year. It may, however, have been another copy. (Baillie’s Letters, i. 464.) 

*  Scan of abovementioned letter from the Black Book of Taymouth

**  “The 18 day of this mounthe, cam K. Charles from Edinbrughe castle, quher he had lodged all the night past, in grate stait to the abey churche of Holyrudhousse, quher he was solemlie crouned; and becausse this was the most glorious and magnifique coronatione that euer was seine in this kingdome, and the first King of Grate Brittane that euer was crouned in Scotland; to behold thesse triumphes and ceremonies, maney strangers of grate quality resorted heither from diuersse countries. In this Annall I haue purposly omitted the particulars of this inauguration, in respecte I haue published the same apairt.” – Historical Works, vol. ii., p.199.

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