The Martyrs Monument, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh.

Within the Greyfriars Kirk yard stands the "Martyrs Memorial" which commemorates some 18,000 Covenanters who died for their faith . It also marks the area where the remains of some hundred Covenanters  executed in the nearby Grassmarket are buried. As was the custom and practice most were beheaded and their heads placed on spikes above the gates into Edinburgh - the Netherbow Gate which once stood at the top of Canongate, was a populars one. Also several martyrs had their heads and hands and arms hacked off and sent to their home locality as a gruesome message to any one else minded to resist the King`s will. The last line of the inscription is literally true -The most part of them lies here.

The inscription reads:

Halt passenger take heed what thou dost see
This tomb doth shew for what some men did die
Here lies interr'd the dust of these who stood
Gainst perjury resisting unto blood
Adhering to the Covenants and Laws
Establishing the same which was the Cause
Then their lives were sacrificed unto the Lust
Or Prelatist's abjur'd though here their dust
Lies mixt with murders and other crew
Whom justice did justly to death pursue
But as for this in them no cause was found
Worthy of death but only they were found
Constant and steadfast zealous witnessing
For the prerogatives of CHRIST their king
Which truths were feared by famous Guthrie's head
And all along to Mr Ranwick's blood
They did endure the wrath of enemies
Reproaches torments deaths and injuries
But yet they're these who from such troubles came
And now triumph in glory with the LAMB

  From May 27th 1661 that the noble Marquess of Argyle suffered to the 17th of Febr 1688 that Mr James Ranwick suffr'd were executed at Edinburgh about an hundred of Noblemen Gentlemen Ministers & others noble martyrs for JESUS CHRIST. The most part of them lies here.

This Tomb was erected anno 1706.

Thanks to the efforts of the Scottish Covenanters Memorials Association and the Greyfriars Kirkyard Trust (www.greyfriars.org) work has been put in hand to save the monument that is itself suffering the effects of age. Special silicone solution is being injected into the stone to hold it together. It was hoped to re cut the bible that is at the bottom of the monument but instead a brass plate has been inscribed and inserted below.

 

 

 

Ironically, nearby the infamous "Greyfriars Prison" stands the mausoleum of Sir George MacKenzie of Rosehaugh who, as Kings Advocate, was responsible for the zealous prosecution of the Covenanters  Smellie in Men of the Covenant, amongst others, relates the pranks of schoolboys from the nearby Heriots School. They would play in the kirk yard and cry out at the impressive MacKenzie mausoleum :

Bluidy MacKenzie , come out if ye daur;
Lift the sneck, and draw the bar:

 

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