Anecdotage of Glasgow
Cathcart Kirk-Yard: Martyrs' Grave and
THE parish church of Cathcart, which was erected in
1831, on the site of an old barn-like structure, is an elegant building
in the modern Gothic style of architecture. It is surrounded by a fine
burial-ground, quiet and secluded, where beneath the flickering shadows
of several umbrageous old ash trees—
"The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep."
Hugh Macdonald, the beau-ideal of ramblers, who
remembered the old barn-like edifice which gave place to the modern
structure above referred to, describes the kirk-yard, and tells the
story of the martyrs in his usual interesting and instructive manner. He
"The pensive rambler may here spend a profitable
hour, as many a time and oft, in bygone days, we have, in meditations
among the tombs. Many of the headstones are well worthy the attention of
those who love to study the doleful literature of the dead. Among the
more remarkable of these is one that marks the grave wherein are
interred the ashes of three individuals, who suffered a violent death
for their adherence to the principles of the Solemn League and Covenant,
in the days when Claverhouse and his troopers rode roughs od over the
consciences of the Scottish people.
"Many years ago we remember enacting Old Mortality
on this stone, by removing with our gully the moss which had crept
over it and all but obliterated the inscription. Since then a fresh
application of the chisel has rendered it perfectly legible, so that we
should have had no difficulty in transcribing it for our readers,
although it had been effaced from our memory—which, however, from the
strong impression it made on our youthful imagination, it has not. It is
as follows :—
"‘This is the stone tomb of Robert Thom, Thomas Cook,
and John Urie, martyrs for ouning the covenanted work of Reformation,
the 11th of May, 1685.
The bloody murderers of these men
Were Major Balfour and Captain Maitland;
With them others were not frie,
Caused them to search in Polmadie.
As soon as they had them out found,
They murther’d them with shots of guns;
Scarce time had they to them allow
Before their Maker their knees to bow.
Many like in this land have been
Whose blood for wingeance cries to Heaven.
This cruel wickedness you see
Was done in lon of Polmadie.
This shall a standing witness be
‘Twixt presbyterie and prelacie."
The circumstances of this tragedy are found briefly
detailed in Wodrow’s History. The martyrs were men of low degree,
poor weavers and labourers. They resided in the village of Little Govan
(now removed), and they were dragged from their cottages by the
dragoons, and murdered in the immediate vicinity. The scene of their
death is directly opposite the Flesher’s Haugh of Glasgow Green.
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